ROME, Italy - No.6 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Abigail Spears each completed milestone victories within days of one another, with Spears earning win No.500 a day after her partner won her 700th career match, beating Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato to reach the quarterfinals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Srebotnik has been Slovenia's preeminent force on the WTA for nearly two decades, peaking at No.20 on the singles rankings back in 2006 and enjoying an illustrious doubles career that's earned her the No.1 ranking and six Grand Slam titles in women's and mixed.
A winner of 37 doubles titles - ranking her 24th all-time in the WTA Record Books - her breakthrough season came in 1999, when she won titles in all three disciplines on her respective tour-level debuts, winning a singles trophy in Estoril, a doubles crown in Makarska with Tina Krizan, and, most impressivly, the French Open in mixed doubles with Piet Norval.
Qualifying for the WTA Finals nine times - finishing runner-up three times - Srebotnik earned win No.700 on Monday by pairing Spears to defeat Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-3, 6-4, leading among active players by 145 matches. Kveta Peschke has the next highest total at 555 wins.
The celebration continued on Thursday, when Srebotnik helped Spears clinch her 500th career victory over Hozumi and Kato, 6-2, 7-5.
Spears began what she intends to be her final season by winning her maiden Grand Slam title, pairing Juan Sebastián Cabal to upset Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig to win the Australian Open mixed doubles tournament.
She and Srebotnik paired up during the Middle East Swing and have already reached two finals, winning the Qatar Total Open and kicking off the clay court season with a run to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final.