SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Kirilenko & Petrova Reach Doubles Final
by Peter Holehan|
Russians Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova assured that there will be an all-country pairing in the women’s doubles final of the Sony Ericsson Open.
The fifth seeds knocked out the team of Vania King and Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-4, behind jolting baseline rips and eye-catching smashes.
They’ll face the victors of the semifinal nightcap between sixth seeded Italians Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani and Argentines Gisela Dulko and Paola Suarez.
In advancing to their first doubles final of the year, the pair of Moscow natives proved to be the dominant aggressors through the balance of the match. The duo amassed a combined 31 winners and converted on five break point opportunities.
King, ranked sixth in the doubles rankings, and Niculescu, ranked No. 40, was unable to sustain any long standing rallies. Whenever momentum was starting to mount, the Russians made the necessary play to bring the rally to a halt.
Kirilenko, ranked No. 11 in doubles, and Petrova, No. 16, poured it on in the second set by going up two breaks early with Kirilenko capitalizing the effort with a smashing backhand that ripped up the baseline and went uncontested.
Even when King and Niculescu fought back to earn two breaks to even the set at three games all, the Russians answered immediately with a break of their own when King netted a backhand.
It has been nearly two and a half years since Kirilenko and Petrova have been finalists together. They have won two WTA doubles titles together (2009 in Moscow and 2008 in Cincinnati).
In terms of career WTA titles, both Petrova and Kirilenko have found more success in doubles play. The 29-year-old Petrova will be seeking her 20th career WTA Tour doubles title. She has 10 singles titles.
Kirilenko, 25, has teamed to win 10 doubles titles to just five singles titles. Her versatility as an interchangeable partner is apparent as she has won doubles titles with six different partners.
Although Kirilenko been steady in her year-end singles ranking by finishing in the Top 30 in five of the past seven years, her doubles’ ranking has reached as high as the World No. 5 this past October.
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