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MATTEK-SANDS & SAFAROVA, GARCIA & MLADENOVIC MARCH INTO QUARTERFINALS

Top seeded teams Mattek-Sands/Safarova and Garcia/Mladenovic cruise into the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

MELBOURNE, Australia - It was an easy day at the office for the top-seeded doubles teams at the Australian Open, who made quick work of their third-round opponents to march comfortably into the quarterfinals.

The No.2 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova needed an hour and 13 minutes to move past Timea Babos and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-4.

"The match was good today, it was nice and hot here in Australia so it was nice to get it done in two sets!" Mattek-Sands said afterwards. "They were a tough team, they've had some good results and beat some tough teams, but we were ready for it."

"Team Bucie" recovered strongly from an early break to hit back on the Pavlyuchenkova serve, wearing down Babos at the net to earn the break before taking the opening set.

Things got a bit more complicated in the second, as Mattek-Sands and Safarova saw their 4-0 lead erased after a string of loose errors - and some great serving by Pavlyuchenkova - saw the latter team get three games back.

But the No.2 seeds steadied the ship, not dropping a point in the final two games to sail into the quarterfinals.

Their next opponents will be the No.11-seeded team Raquel Atawo and Xu Yifan, after the pair dismissed the all-Chinese duo of Liang Chang and Yang Zhaoxuan 6-2, 6-0.

On the other side of the draw, the No.1 seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic breezed comfortably past No.13 seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Saisai, 6-1, 6-4.

"It was definitely a good match, we started off the first set very well and played very aggressive," Garcia said afterwards. "In the second we made a bit more mistakes, but we kept our game together and played the important moments very well, I think."

The French duo were in imperious form to start out their third-round clash, notching back-to-back breaks to climb ahead a 5-0 lead. Srebotnik and Zheng had to fight off four set points just to get their names on the scoreboard, but that didn't halt Garcia and Mladenovic's momentum and they comfortably took the set at the sixth time of asking.

They ran into more resistance from Srebotnik and Zheng in the second set, which they opened with a break on the Chinese player's serve.

Some smart net play by the No.13 seeds opened the door at 2-1, where they brought up three break points - just their second break chance in the match - but Garcia's booming groundstrokes quickly batted away the opportunity.

Awaiting in the quarterfinals will be the French team's biggest test of the tournament as they'll take on all-Aussie duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua in front of their home crowd. In the second round, the Aussies leveraged the home support to stun No.5 seeds CoCo Vandeweghe and Martina Hingis in straight sets.

"I think it's going to be a great match and a great experience," Garcia said. "It's a good chance for us to play night session on Rod Laver Arena, but against Aussies it's going to be a very difficult match. And they've played together all year and made three finals, so they play very well together."

 

With five WTA events and the year’s first Grand Slam down, who will top the first Road to Singapore Leaderboard in 2017? Join us on the Road to Singapore and find out on January 30.

This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.




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