Top seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina made a winning return to action Friday evening at the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in their first match since their Wimbledon triumph, easing past the all-Canadian wild card pairing of Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals.
Makarova/Vesnina Produce Doubles Masterclass to Take Opening Set
After their big win over the experienced pairing of Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova last night, Andreescu and Branstine were hoping to pick up right where they left off against the number one seeds but immediately found it difficult to find any sort of rhythm against the three-time Grand Slam champions.
Showing off their doubles prowess, Makarova and Vesnina raced out to a 2-0 lead without breaking a sweat before the Canadians were able to give their home fans something to cheer about on Court 1, touching out a gutsy hold to get on the board in the ensuing game.
But that would be all the success the Canadians would enjoy in the opening set as, despite having multiple chances to get another game on the board, they simply had no answers to the relentless hitting and the skillful formations of the top seeds, who imperiously took the opening set, 6-1, in just 22 minutes.
Makarova/Vesnina Ease Into Last Eight
The second set was a similar story as the Russians started brilliantly on serve and appeared to be on course for their third straight break of serve, but some big-time play from the Canadians, spearheaded by the big serve of Branstine, was enough to dig their way out of three break points and get the much-needed hold to stay with the top seeds.
But once again, that service hold would be the most success the Canadians would see for the rest of the set, and ultimately match, as Makarova and Vesnina used their experience as a team to just play the big points better, eventually clinching the elusive first break of the second in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead before easily consolidating to go a set and 4-1 to the good.
From there, it was only a matter of time until the three-time Grand Slam doubles champions pressed home their advantage, breaking once more before closing out a very comfortable victory in just 48 minutes.
Next Up for Makarova/Vesnina: Melichar/Kichenok
Awaiting the number one seeds for a place in the semifinals will be the experienced Ukrainian-American pairing of Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nicole Melichar, who took out fellow doubles specialists Chuang Chia-Jung and Renata Voracova earlier in the day on Court 1.