Unseeded Doubles Teams Aim for Title
By: Nicholas McCarvel
Ever a hit with fans at the Family Circle Cup, the doubles draw in 2014 has not been disappointing – in fact, far from it.
Sunday two talented teams take to the Charleston final as sisters Han-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan will play against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova.
Chan/Chan won their semifinal Saturday when Anastasia Rodionova retired with an injury alongside partner Alla Kudryavtseva. Medina Garrigues/Shvedova defeated local favorites Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-8 in a thriller on Stadium Court.
“I think it’s very special since this is the Family Circle Cup and we’re sisters and we got into the finals,” Yung-Jan said after their semifinal win. “This is our first time making a final this year. We’re happy to play well this week.”
Medina Garrigues/Shvedova have also played well this week, winning a close battle in the opening round before breezing into the semifinals.
The doubles draw was shaken up from the start when the world’s No. 1 team, Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai retired in the first round due to Peng’s injury. No. 2 seeds Kveta Peschke and Lucie Safarova also fell in their opener, losing to the Chan sisters.
Safarova had won the last two years here in doubles, but with different partners.
Kops-Jones/Spears were the highest seeds into the semifinals, winning two nail-biters to start: They beat Jarmila Gajdosova and Zheng Saisai 11-9 in a match tiebreak to open before squeaking by Jelena Jankovic and singles finalist Andrea Petkovic 16-14 in the quarterfinals.
Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, the No. 4 seeds, lost in the quarterfinals.
The two finalists are meeting for the first time. The Chans won their first WTA doubles title together last fall, though collectively they own 12. Medina Garrigues/Shvedova have won twice together and 31 titles overall.
“Our strength is perhaps that we share blood,” Han-Ching said, the sisters laughing. “Sometimes we fight on the court, but we feel each other on the court much more than other partners, we think.”
Whichever team wins will become the first unseeded pair to win at the Family Circle Cup at least since 1984 and perhaps ever, though all records aren’t available previous to that year.