INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.1 seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova are through to the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal without dropping a set after taking down the wildcard team of Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka, 6-4, 6-3.
Read more: Kerber dethrones Vesnina at BNP Paribas Open
With the tournament introducing a historic ‘doubles bonus’ at the start of the tournament, more and more singles players have found their way into the doubles court - including defending champion Vesnina and two-time singles champion Azarenka - making for some interesting matchups.
“The atmosphere was amazing today,” Vesnina said after the victory. “The people here at Indian Wells really appreciate singles and doubles, and they really know what’s going on in the court. They’re cheering for both teams, for great shots. I really enjoyed playing today.”
The top seeded Russian duo started off with a commanding 4-0 against the Belarusians, with Makarova and Vesnina targeting the relatively inexperienced Sabalenka from the start.
Sabalenka and Azarenka managed to grab one of the breaks back, but couldn’t stem the tide as the top seeds marched ahead to take the opening set. Another pair of breaks sealed the second, sending them through to the quarterfinals after an hour and 14 minutes.
Having started out the day with a loss to Angelique Kerber in the singles competition, Vesnina was relieved to get the win alongside Makarova.
“After singles, I was a bit disappointed even though it was a good match,” she admitted. “Angelique played well, and I couldn’t do better. It’s not easy to defend such a big title, especially going against Top 10 players.
“But now we have more time for doubles. My mural is still there, and I’m happy to still be in the tournament.”
Their win earns them a matchup against all-Spanish team of Lara Arruabarrena and Arantxa Parra Santonja.
Also in action, the unseeded duo of Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-Wei stunned the No.2 seeds, the newly-reunited Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan, to move into the quarterfinals.
Strycova and Hsieh needed a match tiebreak to decide the hour-and-35-minute battle, winning 6-4, 5-7, 10-6.
“It’s a very good win for us, to beat such a team,” Strycova said. “We knew coming it that it would be a tough one, they’re doubles players so they know what’s going on in the court. We just played the best we could, and in the important moment we made the right choices.”
They’ll take on Vania King and Katarina Srebotnik in the next round.