PARIS, France – Top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova faced a stern test on their way to the round of 16, where they’ll face crowd favorites Kristina Mladenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Mattek-Sands and Safarova were under pressure from the start against a determined duo of Aleksandra Krunic and Ajla Tomljanovic, dropping serve early on. The pairs wrestled for momentum through to the tiebreak, which saw Krunic and Tomljanovic pull ahead at the very end, reeling off four points in a row to take the close opening set.
The top seeds recovered strongly, and closed the gap in the second and third – they broke serve twice and fought off four of their opponents chances to clinch the match 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 hour after an hour and twenty minutes.
“It was a tough match, our opponents played really well today and both of them were pressuring us,” Safarova said afterwards. “But we stayed positive even after we had a set point in the first set and lost the set. We still believed we could win this and started to play more aggressive, and we were able to turn the match around.”
It won’t get any easier in the next round – Mattek-Sands and Safarova will take on the No.14 seeded team of Svetlana Kuznetsova and defending doubles champion Kristina Mladenovic.
Kuznetsova and Mladenovic had little trouble against Jana Cepelova and Hsieh Su-Wei, taking down the unseeded team 6-3, 6-2.
Also in action, Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk dealt a big upset to the No.9 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan. They knocked out the reigning Miami champions 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Kristen Flipkens and Francesca Schiavone are also through after a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Nao Hibino and Alicja Rosolska.