LONDON, Great Britain - No.1 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic were ruthlessly efficient in dismissing the unseeded duo of Nadiia Kichenok and Anastasia Rodionova to make the third round of the doubles competition.
The 2014 runners-up were untroubled on serve in the first set, dropping only three points between them, and constantly put the pressure on their Ukrainian-Australian opponents. A tetchy Rodionova was firm in expressing her opinions to umpire Zhang Juan, but less firm on court, double faulting to put her team down a break in the fourth game; and though the 36-year-old would dig the duo out of trouble to save a set point at 3-5, Babos would close out the set with a minimum of fuss a game later.
The Australian Open and Birmingham champions upped their game even further to break twice for 3-0 in the second set, with Babos in particular proving sharp at net. A flurry of netted shots came out of nowhere in the fourth game as Mladenovic dropped serve for the first time. Three games later, though, the Frenchwoman redeemed herself by nailing a smash to capture the Rodionova serve once more, before closing out the match to 15. The result ensures that the Hungarian remains the front runner to become World No.1 after Wimbledon.
Elsewhere, No.2 seeds Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova also moved on in straight sets, although the Czechs were forced to come from a break down in the second set before defeating wildcards Harriet Dart and Katy Dunne 6-2, 6-4.
In a good day for seeded pairings, there was also a win for the Roland Garros champions, No.3 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Lara Arruabarrena and Arantxa Parra Santonja; and the Mallorca champions, No.4 seeds Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-3, 7-5 over Petra Martic and Magdalena Rybarikova.