MELBOURNE, Australia - Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina are once again having a superb fortnight at a major, as they are into the semis of the Australian Open following a marathon defeat of No.2 seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.
The sixth-seeded Mirza and Vesnina, whose first season together in 2011 included runs to the final at the French Open and semifinals at Wimbledon, took just over three hours - including a 93-minute third set - to score the 63 57 76(6) triumph. They had an especially difficult time closing it out, as they had two match points at 5-4 in the second set, one at 6-5 in the third and four at 6-2 in the third set tie-break before finally securing the victory on their eighth match point at 7-6 in the tie-break.
While it was an upset on paper, Mirza and Vesnina had won both of their previous match-ups with the Americans. "Devastating loss at the Australian Open today to a great team," Raymond tweeted. "A well-played and deserved win by Elena and Sania. Good luck in the next round."
Awaiting Mirza and Vesnina are Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva, who were 75 63 victors over Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu. The Russians lost early at the 2011 French Open in their only previous major as a duo.
Wednesday's other semifinal will see No.7 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka put their eight match winning streak on the line against No.11 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Hlavackova and Hradecka topped No.3 seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova, 75 62, the third time they have played them in a major and the second time they have beaten them. Errani and Vinci handled Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova, 63 61, to advance to their first Grand Slam semifinal on their eighth try.
"Lost the doubles, but well played and good luck to Errani and Vinci and of course, my partner Makarova," Kudryavtseva tweeted.