SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Paes & Stepanek Set Bryans SF Showdown
by Peter Holehan|
In the first doubles match of this year’s Sony Ericsson Open to be played on stadium court, No. 7 seeds Leander Paes of India and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic defeated Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in straightforward fashion 7-6 (6), 6-4 in a men’s doubles quarterfinal.
Paes and Stepanek played a relatively clean match as the duo combined to commit just 11 unforced errors. They notched 21 winners including a fine forehand smash by Paes to seal it.
Paes and Stepanek have partnered to win all six sets thus far in the tournament and are now 12-2 as a team in 2012.
They’ll meet the top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States in a men’s doubles semifinal.
The Bryan brothers have also won all six sets so far, however, Paes and Stepanek were able to beat them 7-6 (1), 6-2, in the doubles final of the Australian Open in January.
A week prior to that match, the Bryans needed two tiebreaks to overcome Paes and Stepanek 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7) in a quarterfinal at Sydney.
American Vania King and Romania Monica Niculescu won on four of five break point chances and eliminated Anabel Medina Garrigues and Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-2, in a women’s doubles quarterfinal.
King and Niculescu combined to put 75 percent of first serves in play winning on 67 percent of them.
Although they are unseeded, the American and Romanian have yet to drop a set in this tournament.
They will face No. 5 seeded Russians Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko, who defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-6(5)
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