ROME, Italy - Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina got the better of Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez for the second time in five days in first round doubles play at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Llagostera Vives and Martínez Sánchez paired up for the first time since the 2011 Australian Open last week in Madrid. For much of the tournament, they looked like the team that netted nine titles together from 2008 to 2010. Highlights included their 100th match win as a duo in the first round and an upset of reigning Wimbledon champions Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the quarterfinals. However, they fell short in a tight two-setter against eventual runners-up Makarova and Vesnina in the semifinals.
The rematch on Tuesday was even tighter, with the Spaniards having a set point on Vesnina's serve at 5-4 in the first set before eventually losing it, 7-5. Then in the second set, Makarova and Vesnina took a 5-3 lead, lost three straight games and then forced a tie-break, which they survived for the 75 76(6) triumph. The Russians, who are playing their second WTA event together, next take on Jill Craybas and Sloane Stephens.
The only seeds to take the court were sixth-seeded Julia Goerges and Vania King, who in their first ever match together were 75 62 winners over Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alla Kudryavtseva. They did have to rally from a 4-1 first set deficit and survived three set points against them at 5-4.
"Won doubles today with Vania," Goerges tweeted. "Learned some new doubles tactics from a great doubles player. Had a lot of fun out there!"
Also advancing were Iveta Benesova and Anabel Medina Garrigues, Gisela Dulko and Paola Suárez and Jamie Hampton and Anna Tatishvili. Next up for Benesova and Medina Garrigues, who were victorious at Fès in 2010 in their only previous outing, are No.5 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova. Dulko and Suárez will take on No.3 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who won their ninth career title in Madrid. Hampton and Tatishvili saved two match points in their 16 63 119 victory over Hsieh Su-Wei and Zheng Jie.
Wednesday's schedule is highlighted by a second round showdown featuring top-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza. The Americans will be looking to shake off a loss to Dominika Cibulkova and Janette Husarova in their Madrid opener.