PARIS, France - Four straight set matches decided the four teams that will feature in Friday's women's doubles semifinals at the French Open on Thursday, led by top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.
After losing in the opening round last year as defending champions, the top seeds moved back into the last four for the third straight major as they ousted unseeded Francesca Schiavone and Kirsten Flipkens, 6-2, 6-4.
After winning the first two legs of the calendar-year Grand Slam in 2015, Mattek-Sands and Safarova are looking to win their third straight major in Paris, having won the Australian Open in January and the US Open last summer.
The No.2 seeds were unable to join the top team in the semifinals, however, as Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova were bundled out of the tournament by No.6 seeded Czechs Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 6-4.
After losing a one-sided opening set, the 2013 champions built a 4-1 lead in the second set, but lost the last five games.
Hradecka reaches at least the semifinals in Paris for the seventh staight years after winning the title alongside Andrea Hlavackova in 2011, but she has not appeared in the championship match since raising the trophy.
Her compatriot Siniakova, a decade her junior, returns to the semifinals for the second year in a row after doing so last year with Barbora Krejcikova.
In the lone quarterfinal between unseeded teams, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua continued to signal their return to form in a big way, with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu and Zheng Saisai.
The duo has won its last eight matches on the European red clay with the loss of just one set, and will put their winning streak on the line against Hradecka and Siniakova on Friday.
Another team with a winning streak on the line is No.3 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-jan, who made it 12 straight victories with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk. Chan set a personal milestone in the victory, reaching the French Open semifinals for the first time in her career on the back of her fourth quarterfinal appearance.
Hingis and Chan have not lost together on red clay this season, and have not lost a match since the semifinals in Miami, but will face their toughest test yet against the top seeds in the semifinals.
In total, five of the eight players that will feature in the women's doubles semifinals have reached the championship match at least once before.