Identical twins Lyudmyla and Nadiya Kichenok were a set away from the biggest upset of their career when they led three-time Grand Slam-winning Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci before intermittent rain put their plans on hold on Monday.
Before the match, umpire Mariana Alves had to ask the blonde, pony-tailed 21-year-olds wearing matching outfits and headbands how she would be able to tell them apart. For the record, the only notable difference was the model of their Wilson tennis racket.
The 21-year-old twins had previously reached the Tashkent Open final three years ago and this year, lost in the final of the Shenzhen Open leading into the Australian Open. On Wimbledon’s Court 2, in their Grand Slam debuts, they snatched the first set from the No.2 seeds 7-5 before the first rain delay halted their momentum.
Upon resumption, they fell down a break 4-2 before the players were sidelined once more. Lyudmyla decided to start massaging her sister’s shoulders to prevent her muscles tightening up in the cold, damp conditions.
Last year’s beaten finalists Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua were the highest seeded duo to progress, let alone finish their match, with the Australians ensuring Czech surprise packet Barbora Zahlavova Strycova would not finish her day with two upset victories to her name. The Czech player had earlier downed No.16 seed Caroline Wozniacki to reach the last eight in the singles, but teaming with Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, was no match for the No.6 seeds, bowing 6-4, 6-2.
Strycova’s countrywoman Lucie Safarova was just two games from going one better and completing a winning double for the day after her earlier singles fourth-round triumph. The Czech lefty, teaming with Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, led former world No.1 doubles players, Sam Stosur and Flavia Pennetta, 6-1, before rain slowed their momentum.
The two teams were locked at 4-4 before players were again forced to wait for light drizzle to clear.
It never did. With all four standing around talking at net, the call was finally made to leave the court, with Pennetta giving a cheeky “ciao” to the crowd.
No.10 seeds Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, expected to be a pivotal pairing for Germany in the Fed Cup final later in the year, made it comfortably through to the third round earlier with a 6-4, 6-2 result against Eva Hrdinova and Bojana Jovanovski.
Czech-Chinese pair Andrea Hlavackova and Jie Zheng returned to finish off Vera Dushevina and Chanelle Scheepers; the No.9 seeds running out 6-4, 6-1 winners, while No.14 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic had an equally easy time of it against Belina Bencic and Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 6-3.
German-Slovak duo Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova held off Australian qualifiers Jarmila Gajdosova and Arina Rodionova 6-2, 7-5.
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
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