No.3 seeds Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez overcame a second-set fightback by the Williams sisters to win in three sets and advance to the French Open quarter-finals.
WTA Staff
June 3, 2018

PARIS, France -- The 3rd-seeded team of Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez survived a second-set comeback by Serena and Venus Williams before ending the run of the American wild cards, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-0, in the third round of the French Open on Sunday.

Slovenia's Klepac and Spaniard Martínez Sánchez served for the match at 6-4, 5-4, but the Williams sisters orchestrated a successful fightback in that set to push the match to a decider, before the No.3 seeds regrouped to overwhelm the Americans in the final set and take the two-hour-and-nine-minute encounter.

Klepac and Martínez Sánchez, who have reached three Premier-level finals on the WTA this year, won a brilliant 71 percent of points on their second serves, and broke the 14-time Grand Slam doubles champions six times during the match.

Despite the loss in doubles, Serena Williams still is alive in the singles draw, as she has a hotly anticipated fourth-round encounter with No.28 seed Maria Sharapova taking place on Monday.

Serena (L) and Venus Williams (Getty Images)
Serena (L) and Venus Williams confer during their third-round doubles match at the 2018 French Open. (Getty Images)

Klepac and Martínez Sánchez got off to a rip-roaring start as they broke Venus in the first game, then Serena in the third game, en route to a 4-0 lead. The Williams sisters claimed one break back, taking the Klepac serve at love with a powerful smash from Serena, and pulling back to 4-2.

But the Slovenian/Spanish duo faced no problems on their serve for the remainder of the set, and claimed the opening frame after Venus sprayed a forehand volley wide on the first set point. The Williams sisters combined for five double faults in the first set, with no aces to even that statistic out.

The No.3 seeds took the initial lead in the second set as well, breaking the Serena serve after Martínez Sánchez hit a stunning reflex backhand off of a Serena overhead for a winner. But when the Spaniard served for the match at 5-4, her team faltered, and a backhand by Venus forced an error on the Americans’ second break point of the game, tying the set at 5-5.

The pairs moved into a tiebreak, and Klepac erased a mini-break deficit with a screaming backhand passing shot for 4-4. But two long backhands by Martínez Sánchez after that gave the Williams sisters two set points, and Serena clinched the set on the first opportunity after one of her powerful backhands forced a Klepac error into the net.

But the momentum the American siblings had after that comeback quickly dissipated. Venus dropped serve at love, double faulting down break point to hand over a 2-0 lead to her opponents. Then Serena's backhand went awry in her next service game, with three errors off of that wing leading to another break of service, and a 4-0 lead for Klepac and Martínez Sánchez.

The third-seeded tandem saved two break points on the Klepac serve to hold for 5-0, forcing Venus to serve to avert the bagel. There, Klepac and Martínez Sánchez demonstrated why they are so highly seeded during the final game, blasting volleys for winners to grab a match point. A final volley winner by the Spaniard closed out the tilt, sending her and her Slovenian partner into the elite eight.

Three other teams also booked their spots in the Roland Garros quarterfinals on Sunday. First, No.6-seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova overcame No.9 seeds Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Larsson of Sweden, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) in a two-hour-and-14-minute tussle.

Also, No.8 seeds Chan Hao-ching of Chinese Taipei and Yang Zhaoxuan of China dispatched Romania's Sorana Cirstea and Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-2, 6-4, and Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia overwhelmed Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic and Russia's Irina Khromacheva, 6-3, 6-1.