PARIS, France - No.6 seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka rounded out the semifinal field at the French Open on Thursday with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the last eight.
The seeded team trailed 5-3 in the opening set against the former French Open singles champion and Ukrainian doubles specialist, in a set which began with seven straight breaks of serve.
However, Mertens and Sabalenka rallied to win the last four games, breaking at love in the 10th game to restore parity, and later won the last four games of the second set to move safely through to the final four.
There is history on the line for the Belgian in Paris: should she and Sabalenka lift their first Grand Slam title, she will become the new World No.1 in doubles.
They will need to get through No.2 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos to get there, with any other result guaranteeing that Mladenovic will rise to World No.1.
En route to winning the Sunshine Double in the spring, Mertens and Sabalenka beat the former Australian Open champions in their first match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in a match tiebreak, 6-1, 6-7(4), 10-8.
The other semifinal will pit No.15 seeds Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson against the surprise pairing of Duan Ying-ying and Zheng Saisai, who beat No.4 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan on Wednesday, saving a match point, and also upset No.9 seeds Demi Schuurs and Anna-Lena Groenefeld earlier this fortnight.
More to come...