SINGAPORE - No.4 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina withstood a late fightback to defeat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka and take their place in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Makarova and Vesnina have been one of the form teams in the second half of 2016, winning Olympic gold and reaching the US Open semifinals, and their confidence was apparent from the off, threatening an immediate break with some typically forceful net play. In the end, the breakthrough owed more to good fortune, Hlavackova getting her feet in a muddle after Vesnina scraped a return back.
They made the most of this stroke of luck, forging ahead before Makarova closed out the first set with an ace down the middle.
? WTA (@WTA) October 28, 2016
The second set proved to be far more competitive. But just as a tie-break loomed, the gold medalists struck, Makarova swatting the ball away after wrong-footing Hradecka with the initial volley. Serving for the match, Makarova made no mistake, swinging a serve out wide on match point before calmly finding the open court.
"It's bouncing so low, so we need to stay down and in the second set we had some tough moments," Makarova said in her on-court interview with Andrew Krasny. "In the end, I said to Lena, 'Let's stay as low as we can all the time!'"
Runners-up three years ago, they will next take on the defending champions, Hingis and Mirza. Despite the high stakes, Vesnina is not envisaging a change in approach: "We're obviously having fun on and off the court. Even if someone has a bad moment, we're trying to support and it gives us so much help knowing we have this support."