Russian doubles duo Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina are aiming to finish the job on Saturday when they play in the final at Wimbledon, standing a step away from glory after a run that has included a win over the top seeds.
Third seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens will stand between the pair and the title when they stride onto center court, although the task ahead of them may not seem as daunting as it might have been given their form so far in the championships.
In the quarterfinals, Kudermetova and Vesnina battled back from narrowly losing the first set against top seeds Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova to emerge victorious courtesy of a 9-7 third-set tie-break triumph, representing a huge upset for the unseeded winners.
By that time, they had already beaten huge-serving Coco Gauff and her fellow American partner, Caty McNally, to oust the 12th seeds.
Their path to the final was also a tough one, recovering from a second-set setback to beat Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders via a 7-5 deciding set win in a match that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.
For Vesnina, their success is a fairytale comeback after more than two-and-a-half years away from the game as the winner of every Grand Slam doubles title except the Australian Open – where she still managed to reach the final twice – showed impressively little rustiness.
The 34-year-old, who has been sharing her experiences at the iconic All England Club and at some of London’s landmarks with her fans on social media, earned her last title at Wimbledon in 2017.
Vesnina would love this year’s final to prove as straightforward as it did on that occasion, when she paired with the now-retired Ekaterina Makarova to beat Chan Hao-ching and Monica Niculescu 6-0, 6-0 – the first time that had happened in the women’s doubles final in SW19 since 1953.
“How did you like the match?” she asked her thousands of followers after progressing from the final four, having described their quarterfinal victory as “incredible”.
Kudermetova shared a clip of the pair hugging as they enjoyed their latest win, and other top athletes including racing driver Ira Sidorkova offered their admiration for the achievement.
“My dear friend [Vesnina] is in the final of Wimbledon,” wrote Sidorkova, adding a photo of the duo.
Kudermetova reached the semifinals at the US Open last year with Anna Blinkova, but this is her first time in a Grand Slam final.
The 24-year-old is on a roll after taking her first singles title earlier this year, winning the Charleston Open in April.
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