MIAMI, FL, USA - There's no doubt that Maria Sharapova and the team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina are big threats this fortnight in Miami - Sharapova is the No.3 seed in singles, Makarova and Vesnina the No.4 seeds in doubles. But what they pulled off at Indian Wells was a very rare feat.
It was just the sixth time Russians swept the singles and doubles titles at a WTA event:
Makarova and Vesnina may be even more dangerous than their No.4 seeding this fortnight in Miami - they have won 18 of their last 19 matches together. Ahead of them in the seedings are No.1 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who hold three of the last four Grand Slams and actually accounted for the one loss in the Russians' recent streak; No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, former French Open champions; and No.3 seeds Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, who won the Sydney title in January and have reached a slew of other Premier-level finals this year.
A number of other former No.1s are also in action in the doubles draw, namely Cara Black (who is partnering with Anastasia Rodionova), Lisa Raymond (partnering Laura Robson), Liezel Huber (partnering María José Martínez Sánchez) and Flavia Pennetta (partnering Svetlana Kuznetsova).