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Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

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Order of Play: 2 July

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Friday, 14 July 2017 18:56 PM BST
Russians to start doubles final as favourites
No.2 seeds Makarova and Vesnina will face Niculescu and Chan in ladies’ showpiece READ MORE

Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina are five years into one of the most successful double acts in tennis and their on-court enthusiasm and quality were evident throughout their 7-5, 6-2 semi-final win over No.12 seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld, of Germany, and the Czech Republic’s Kveta Peschke.

The Russian No.2 seeds are now into their second Wimbledon ladies’ doubles final having lost to Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza in 2015. For Vesnina it is a third Wimbledon final as she also reached the title decider alongside countrywoman Vera Zvonavera in 2010.

Makorova and Vesnina, No.3 and No.4 respectively in the doubles world rankings, will face No.9 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Monica Niculescu who were forced to dig deep to defeat Japan’s Makoto Ninomiya and Czech Renata Voracova 7-6(4), 4-6, 9-7 in a match that lasted two minutes short of three hours.

As one of the most enduring of doubles team, the Russians have already made a significant mark on the sport having won Olympic gold in Rio, the 2013 French Open and the US Open a year later.

Their semi-final showcased the best of the team format and after emerging victorious in a tough opening set 7-5, Makarova and Vesnina turned up the heat on their opponents and raced into a 3-1 lead. When Peschke served in the sixth game, the intensity went a notch higher with both teams exchanging quick-fire volleys at the net.

The Russian pair eventually broke at the fourth attempt and it allowed Vesnina to serve out for victory with Makarova delivering the killer blow with a backhand volley.

The second semi-final on No.1 Court was a very different match with numerous errors and no fewer than eight out of 11 points going against serve in the first set tie-break which Chan and Niculescu won 7-4.

They had been the stronger pair during the opener and created three set points when Ninomiya served to keep it alive.

The Japanese player held her nerve and there was one more service break each before the shootout which ended with the No.9 seeds taking it after 65 minutes.

The second set burst into life with some amazing tennis that saw all four players contribute something special before Chan delivered the winning blow which deservedly drew loud applause as the teams shared the first eight games.

Ninomiya again held her serve with considerable help at the net from Voracova and then played her part in securing the second set 6-4 to level the match.

With Chan receiving treatment to her shoulder and back in the latter stages of the set, the pressure was on the seeded pair but they held their nerve and broke Ninomiya in the 13th game when the Japanese player made two costly errors.

She redeemed herself in the next game with a clever lob that helped square the match again at 7-7 only for Voracova to then give up her serve. The ailing Chan then managed to deliver enough power to get them over the line.

Niculescu played doubles with Chan’s elder sister seven years ago and this new combination has given the Asian player a second Wimbledon final appearance. She lost the mixed doubles showpiece alongside Max Mirnyi in 2014 but this time will be hoping to leave with some champions' silverware.

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