LONDON, England - There was only one doubles match played on a rain-interrupted Saturday at Wimbledon, but it was a thriller, with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova surviving nine match points in their upset second round victory over No.4 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza.
Black and Mirza won their lone previous encounter with Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova in straight sets in Beijing last year, and it appeared it would be a similar result when they went up a set and 4-1.
But Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova, who have plenty of experience together, including WTA titles in Charleston in 2012 and Madrid in 2013, inched their way back into the match. Still, Black and Mirza found themselves serving for the match at 5-3 before getting broken at love.
Then serving down 5-4, Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova fought off five match points and the set was eventually decided in a tie-break. Once again, Black and Mirza got an early lead and in fact had three more match points at 6-3 and another at 7-6, but once again Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova rallied with three straight points to capture the 64-minute second set.
The third set was back and forth, with Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova securing the key break and the match at 5-4 to close out the 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 triumph in two hours and 26 minutes.
Though they lost four more points than they won, Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova were more effective on break points, winning five of eight compared to six of 23 for their opponents. Next up for them are Flavia Pennetta and Samantha Stosur. Black and Mirza were in the same quarter of the draw as the eighth-seeded Williams sisters, so the Williamses could have one less seeded duo in their path as they pursue their sixth Wimbledon doubles title.
This has been an especially productive tournament for Safarova, who is into the fourth round in singles.