MELBOURNE, Australia - Shahar Peer and Sílvia Soler-Espinosa are playing their first event together but already have a monumental win under their belts, having edged second-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai at the Australian Open on Friday.
Hsieh and Peng had won 10 of their last 11 Grand Slam matches coming into the second round tilt, including their run to the title at Wimbledon last summer. On top of that, they were victorious in their most recent outing at the season-ending WTA Championships in October.
Nevertheless, two days after surviving a 75 46 64 nail-biter against Chan Yung-Jan and Janette Husarova, the Israeli-Spanish combination topped Hsieh and Peng by almost the exact same score. Their 75 36 64 triumph was tight in every way, as evidenced by Peer and Soler-Espinosa winning one more point and having two less unforced errors and one less winner than their foes, who despite the loss still have a chance of becoming doubles World No.1s on the new rankings.
Next up for Peer and Soler-Espinosa are Lucie Hradecka and Michaella Krajicek, who were 76(4) 61 winners over No.16 seeds Vania King and Galina Voskoboeva. Others advancing to the third round were No.1 seeds and defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, No.4 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, No.8 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears and No.13 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Liezel Huber. Of those winners, Errani and Vinci were the only ones extended to three sets, overcoming a slow start for a 16 61 61 triumph over of Kaia Kanepi and Renata Voracova.
The first round also wrapped up, with third-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, 12th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic and Flavia Pennetta, 14th-seeded Julia Goerges and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and 15th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova and Lisa Raymond recording victories.
Makarova and Vesnina and Mladenovic and Pennetta were the most dominant of the seeded winners. The Russians surrendered just three points on their first serves and never faced a break point in their 63 62 defeat of Lauren Davis and Lourdes Domínguez Lino. Mladenovic and Pennetta also lost just three points on their first serves in their 61 62 rout of Aleksandrina Naydenova and Teliana Pereira, who replaced the Williams sisters in the draw when Venus Williams was unable to play because of a leg injury.
Mladenovic and Pennetta take on young Americans Madison Keys and Alison Riske in second round play Saturday. Makarova and Vesnina, No.5 seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua and No.6 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza are on the schedule too.
The mixed doubles event also got underway Friday, with seventh-seeded Peschke and Marcin Matkowski and Barty and John Peers both winning their openers.