MELBOURNE, Australia - No.3 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were in good spirits after a 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-2 win over Kristyna Pliskova and Viktorija Golubic put them into the last eight of the Australian Open in women's doubles.
"Elena didn't play that bad," Makarova said after the match.
"Please, she had to carry me the whole time!" Vesnina replied.
The reigning Olympic champions have a chance to install Vesnina atop the WTA rankings should they win their third major title - and current No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands falls before the semifinals - but the Russian duo were plenty grateful to emerge victorious on a scorching day in Melbourne.
"It was a good team; we didn't know how they played together. Pliskova has a big serve," Makarova said before Vesnina added, "The Pliskova family all have big serves!"
Makarova and Vesnina recovered from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set to find themselves ahead after the tie-break, but struggled to replicate that form as the sun beat down during the second set.
"We're kind of used to the heat," Vesnina said. "But in the second set, we felt like we went somewhere else, maybe to the pool in our minds because the sun was quite strong. It's very warm out and so we started a bit slower in the second set."
Trading service holds to start the decider, the Russians were the first to break and didn't look back, wrapping up the win in two hours and three minutes.
"We were fighting in the first set and it was a tough one. We lost a little bit of our concentration and they started very good in the second set, just hitting everything down the line and acing," Makarova said.
"In the third, we understood everything we needed to do, played aggressive, and it's good we finished with the win."
Standing between the No.3 seeds and the semifinals are the recently reunited No.12 seeds, Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai. The pair are playing their sixth event together since 2014 and have won three titles, including the Shenzhen Open to start the season. Hlavackova and Peng dismissed doubles specialists Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-2, 6-0 to race into the quarterfinals in their major tournament debut.