Friday, April 7, 2017

Doubles semifinals set for Saturday in Charleston

Top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, the Volvo Car Open 2016 runners-up, will compete on Saturday for another chance at winning the title. The two friends also had to play each other in the second round of singles (Safarova won). Today, they defeated Jennifer Brady and Alison Riske. Safarova has won the doubles title twice with other partners. In 2012, she won it with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and in 2013, she won it with Kiki Mladenovic.

That second win was unexpected. The pair signed up to compete at the last minute, and they had never so much as had a practice hit together. I asked Safarova what she thought her chances were, and she just rolled her eyes. The joke was on her. She and Mladenovic (half of the winning pair I like to call "Mladenovic and Anybody") stormed through the draw, and then defeated top seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber to win the title.

On Saturday, Mattek-Sands and Safarova will compete against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, who defeated Abigail Spears and Katarina Srebotnik in the quarterfinals.

In the other semifinal, 4th seeds Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova will play against Raquel Atawo and Jelena Ostapenko. In the quarterfinals, Hradecka and Siniakova defeated Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova. Atawo and Ostapenko upset 2nd seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Sania Mirza.

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