ISTANBUL, Turkey - Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina pulled off a repeat of this year's French Open final on Saturday, beating Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul. They will play Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai for the title.
Makarova and Vesnina trailed 4-1 in the head-to-head going into the match but that one win was very important, given it was their last meeting - in this year's French Open final. And though it looked like the No.1-seeded Italians were going to get their revenge early on, building a 64 42 lead, the unseeded Russians had other ideas, fighting back to upset the co-World No.1s in a match tie-break, 46 75 103.
"The main thing for us today was just to fight, and to not give them any easy points," Vesnina said. "At the end of the first set we made a lot of unforced errors, and basically helped them - they are a great team and we have so much respect for them, but we knew we had to put more pressure on them.
"In the second set we just kept fighting and started using our chances more. And then when we took it to the tie-break, it was like we caught some kind of rush, and we were just flying on the court."
"We're very excited. It's the second time this year that we've beaten the No.1 team," Makarova said. "They're really tough and we're so happy we came through. We want to show our best tomorrow too."
Makarova and Vesnina are looking for their second-biggest WTA doubles title - after the French Open title, of course - and they have a 4-2 record together in WTA doubles finals. But their next opponents, No.2 seeds Hsieh and Peng, have a few advantages - they are a perfect 8-0 in WTA doubles finals together, and they also defeated Makarova and Vesnina in their only previous encounter.
"We played them once this year in Cincinnati, in the semifinals, and we lost it. But it wasn't our best match," Vesnina said. "We have some thoughts. We watched a little bit of their match this morning. They're a very tricky team, and a very powerful team as well. So we just need to do the same thing as today - fight, play every point, and not give away any easy balls, and just try to beat them ourselves.
"We still can't believe we did it today, though. It's an amazing feeling for us to be in the final."
The scoreline of their Cincinnati semifinal meeting was 61 36 103, in favor of Hsieh and Peng.
The Taiwanese-Chinese duo won their semifinal match earlier on in the day (read more about it here).