MIAMI, FL, USA - Top seeds and Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina dug out of a tricky second set to defeat Alla Kudryavtseva and Lyudmyla Kichenok, 6-2, 6-4, to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open following a disastrous fire caused numerous deaths in Kemerovo.
News of the fire, which broke out in a Siberian mall and killed at least 64 people - 41 of them children - spread across the Atlantic on Tuesday and led Makarova and Vesnina to not only share their condolences on Instagram, but also wear black ribbons to their quarterfinal on Grandstand. The duo played scintillating doubles through the opening set, dropping just two points behind their first serve and breaking three times to close in on their first semifinal in Crandon Park since 2014.
Kudryavtseva and Kichenok paired up for the first time last summer - reuniting for the Sunshine Swing - and took a big lead to start the second set, getting within one point of a 4-0 lead. Makarova and Vesnina nabbed the crucial deciding point and ultimately won six of the final seven games to claim victory after 76 minutes on court in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd.
"Doubles goes so quickly," Vesnina said in her on-court interview. "You can be up in the score, then all the sudden you're down a break. We had to stay focused because they're a really good team, and play doubles well. We're really proud we won this match and want to thank the crowd for staying to watch our match!"
Standing between the Russians and a second straight final will be either Ashleigh Barty and CoCo Vandeweghe or Anastasia Rodionova and Lyudmyla's twin sister Nadiia.