Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina edged Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova in the first round of the Sony Open Tennis doubles. They have now won 19 of their last 20 matches together.
WTA Staff

MIAMI, FL, USA - Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina continued their winning form at the Sony Open Tennis on Friday night, battling past Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova in the first round.

The No.4-seeded Makarova and Vesnina dropped a lengthy 47-minute first set on a tie-break but went right to work from there, winning the first five games of the second set and eventually clinching victory in a match tie-break, 67(5) 63 106. It was the Russian pair's 19th win in its last 20 matches.

"We had another scary escape in the tie-breaker, just like a few times last week in Indian Wells," Vesnina said. "It was a very difficult match because of the rain delays - it's always tough to be ready that quickly, but the weather conditions affect both teams, and we're just happy that we went through."

Vesnina elaborated on how she deals with rain delays. "It's difficult. Sometimes you need to get a quick bite, like a sandwich or some pasta, but you can't eat too much because it can be dangerous if it gets close to your match and you're full. So you just have to eat something small maybe. Then just stay warm, don't go outside and get wet, relax - just be ready to play again at any time, basically."

Makarova and Vesnina have won three Premier-level doubles titles together in the last six months, with two of those Premier Mandatory level - Beijing last fall and, of course, Indian Wells last week.

How did the Russian pair celebrate last week's title? "We had a very nice dinner in the hotel, only our team, and it was really nice - it was like a home dinner for us," Vesnina said. "We talked and laughed a lot - we both wanted to withdraw from our matches earlier in the tournament because we were both injured, and every single match we didn't really know how it would go. But we got through all of this, and it was a great victory for both of us. It's really one of the best tournaments on the tour."

Both Makarova and Vesnina also played their first singles matches of the Sony Open Tennis on Friday, though they had mixed results - Makarova, the No.18 seed, fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 64 64, but Vesnina, the No.29 seed, moved smoothly into the next round with a 64 62 win over Donna Vekic.

"I played against a very young and talented girl today," Vesnina said of the Croat. "I didn't know that much about her before the match but during the match I saw why everybody was talking about her. She's a really up and coming player - maybe she just needs one or two years to get more mature and more confident on the women's tour. Because she's still so young - she's just 16 years old."

And how would Vesnina sum up her day overall? "It was a good day at the office today," she said.

The only other doubles match to take the court didn't finish, as Irina-Camelia Begu and Alicja Rosolska were tied with Tatjana Malek and Tamarine Tanasugarn, 5-all first set, when rain stopped play.