Volvo Car Open: Sania Mirza and Andrea Hlavackova enter quarter-finals
There were quite a few upsets in singles.
Second seeds Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Andrea Hlavackova had to dig deep to enter the quarter-finals of the $776, 000 Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina, USA on Wednesday. The Indo-Czech combine was put to a stern test by the Russian-Australian duo of Daria Kasatkina and Daria Gavrilova but they held on to notch up a 1-6, 3-6, 10-3 win in 1 hour 10 minutes.
They now meet the American-Latvian pair of Raquel Atawo and Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.
Mirza has teamed up with the two-time women's doubles Grand Slam champion Hlavackova as her regular partner, Barbora Strycova is not playing at this tournament. The 30-year-old is looking to push away the setback of her shock Miami final loss on Sunday and start the clay season on a winning note.
The Indian has been a two-time champion at this green clay tournament. In 2011, she won it alongside Elena Vesnina and then she added her second title four years later in partnership with Martina Hingis.
Despite all the experience and success, Mirza did not have an auspicious start to her title quest on Wednesday. She and Hlavackova were broken thrice in a pretty one-sided opening set as Gavrilova and Kasatkina were totally in control of the proceedings.
In a topsy-turvy second set where the momentum swung both ways, the second seeds were thoroughly accurate on their break point conversion and made inroads into their opponents’ serves four times while getting broken themselves twice.
Having pocketed the second game, the confident duo simply raced to the finish line with some great shotmaking.
Mirza is aiming for her second title of 2017 after opening the season with the Brisbane crown which she won with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Top seed Keys sent packing
In singles, there was a big upset as the top seed Madison Keys was sent packing 6-4, 1-6, 1-6 by the local favourite Shelby Rogers in the second round. Keys, who is on the comeback trail from a wrist surgery, was broken seven times in this 1 hour 36-minute match. Keys was the runner-up at this tournament in 2015.
There were few other big names who had to bite the dust as well. Seven-time Grand Slam winner and third seed Venus Williams was edged 4-6, 7-6(3), 5-7 by Laura Siegemund in a tight contest that lasted 3 hours 2 minutes.
Fourth seed and the reigning Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina was knocked out 6(7)-7, 6(3)-7 by 18-year-old Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar while former champion Andrea Petkovic also lost 3-6, 4-6 to eighth seed Anastasija Sevastova.