Russian Duo to Face Hingis-Lisicki for Title

Vesnina/Makarova Reach Sony Open Doubles Final

In a match that was every bit as close as the score indicated, the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina held off Americans Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, 7-5, 7-5 in the women’s doubles semifinals at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis tournament Friday night.

Vesnina and Makarova, the No. 2 seed in Key Biscayne, rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to win five of the last six games, breaking Kops-Jones and Spears twice in the process. The match was so close, Vesnina and Makarova won 77 total points to Kops-Jones and Spears’ 71. The difference was Vesnina/Makarova’s six breaks to Kops-Jones/Spears’ four.

With the Americans up a break at 4-2 in the second set, Vesnina and Makarova broke back, then won a crucial deciding point on serve when Vesnina hit a backhand volley at the net. The teams exchanged breaks for the next three games, with Vesnina and Makarova’s powerful strokes too much for the Americans to handle. A strong forehand by Vesnina forced Spears to volley wide, giving the Russians a 6-5 lead. Makarova served an ace to put her team ahead 40-15 in the last game, then Kops-Jones volleyed into the net to end it.

The first set took 52 minutes, but looked like it would be a runaway for the two seed as Vesnina and Makarova ran out to a 3-0 lead and broke Kops-Jones and Spears twice. But the Americans rallied to take the next four games, as they played closer to the net and intercepted any shots the Russians tried down the middle. But ahead 5-4 and with a chance to break on a deciding point, Spears sent a forehand wide, and the Russians evened the set.

They broke Kops-Jones and Spears in the very next game, and won on serve to close out the set. Makarova and Vesnina will try to win their fifth title together, and first of the year, against wildcards Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki, who won their semifinal match earlier in the day. The final will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday on Stadium Court, prior to the men’s singles final.