LONDON, Great Britain – Abigail Spears and Alicja Rosolska created another sensation in the Women’s Doubles as they moved through to the semifinals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over top seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos.
The American-Polish partnership had already taken the scalps of two other seeded duos and made it a hat-trick of shocks against a pairing that had not dropped a set prior to their outing on Court 2.
After the opening eight games were shared without a break, Babos and then Mladenovic were in turn asked to hold serve in order for the No.1 seeds to retain an interest in the set. The Czech survived her difficulties, but a kind net chord brought up set point for the underdogs on the Frenchwoman’s serve.
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Mladenovic, who had shown her power to send down two aces earlier in the game, displayed great hands to save the point and, ultimately, the game.
It proved a brief reprieve ahead of a tiebreak that proved an entertaining affair, punctuated with a bizarre incident that occurred as Babos served 1-0 up. Her delivery was heading several inches wide of the service box but hit Rosolska’s foot as Spears prepared to return, meaning the servers claimed the point.
From that position, though, the unseeded pair rallied to take the set then powered through the opening two games of the second, breaking Mladenovic to boot.
Some resistance was shown as the higher-ranked couple hit back to win three successive games, but the craft of their opponents proved too much.
A succession of low volleys and tricky lobs saw Spears and Rosolska outmanoeuvre their opponents and break twice more to secure an unexpected berth in the final four.
They will face Czech duo Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, the No.3 seeds, after they overcame a scare to reach the semis.
Tatjana Maria and Heather Watson deservedly took the opening set, 6-3, and had opportunities to close out the second, which they eventually lost to five points in a tiebreak.
Having ridden out the storm, the seeds were the better team in the decider, which they took 6-4.
The lower half of the draw will see a semifinal contested between two couples that were taken the distance in their quarters.
There will be no career Grand Slam this year for Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.
After beating No.2 seeds Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova earlier in the week, they took up another commanding position against Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu, claiming the opener 7-5.
However, the No.6 seeds came through in the end, winning the second 6-4 before easing to the decider 6-2.
Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke will be their oppenents in the last four. After losing the opener 5-7 against No.15 seeds Irina-Camelia Begu and Mihaela Buzarnescu, they fought back to move through thanks to successive 6-4 sets.