PARIS, France -- The two most recent teams to pick up the Roland Garros women's doubles title notched quarterfinal wins in this year's doubles draw on Tuesday, but they took different paths to claim those victories.
2018 champions and No.4 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, both of the Czech Republic, had to storm back from the loss of a quick first set before overcoming the American No.9 seeds Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, after nearly two hours of play which was punctuated by two rain delays.
In the semifinals, the Czechs will face the defending champions and No.2 seeds, Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France. Babos and Mladenovic claimed a straight-set win on Tuesday, defeating the unseeded pair of Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk and Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 7-5.
Initially, Kenin and Mattek-Sands were storming through their tilt against the Czechs. After a 20-minute rain delay at 2-1 in the first set, the Americans returned to court on fire, reeling off the next four games to sweep to the one-set lead.
At 4-4 in the second set, Krejcikova stared down four break points, and the loss of any would have given the Americans the chance to serve for the match. However, Krejcikova came up with quality serves when she needed to most, and she extricated herself from that position to hold for 5-4.
Spurred on by that fight, the Czechs dominated the following game, and a booming return by Krejcikova off of the Kenin serve gave the fourth seeds triple set point. On their first chance, a Krejcikova putaway forced a long reply from Mattek-Sands, and the Czechs had leveled the match at one set apiece.
Sterling volleying by Siniakova helped propel her team to eight points in a row, resulting in a break for 3-1 and a hold for 4-1. A five-minute rain stoppage at that point did not disrupt the 2018 champions' comeback, as they won the last two games of the encounter after the weather cleared up again, booking another semifinal spot in Paris.
Elles sont désormais en demi-finales du double dames après une victoire sur le duo Kostyuk-Sasnovich (6/2, 7/5):— FFT (@FFTennis) October 6, 2020
Timéa Babos 🇭🇺 et @KikiMladenovic 🇫🇷 se rapprochent du doublé à #RolandGarros. pic.twitter.com/tuv0MmShRY
Things were more straightforward for the defending champions, as Babos and Mladenovic zipped ahead to a commanding 6-2, 5-2 lead in their quarterfinal clash with Kostyuk and Sasnovich. However, the routine win got a bit more complicated when the unseeded pairing knocked off three games in a row to level the match at 5-5.
After their fightback, though, Kostyuk and Sasnovich let two game points slip away before the second seeds went up a break once more at 6-5. Babos and Mladenovic, this year's Australian Open champions, were more successful in their second chance serving for the match, attaining victory after 86 minutes of play.
"This doesn't happen often that you're a defending champion of a Grand Slam for like 18 months basically, so it's pretty cool," Babos said, in their post-match press conference. "I'm very happy with the way we're competing and with the way we are playing on this tournament."
"It's a great feeling, of course, to be on court and to get a couple wins, and now being focused and looking forward to the semifinals," added her partner Mladenovic.