Close to becoming No. 1, Vesnina, Makarova appear to split in doubles

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Russians Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova had been playing together since 2012 and just won the title in Madrid. (AP)

Elena Vesnina and Ekaterna Makarova appear to have split as a doubles team, deciding to play with other players despite being just a few wins from reaching the No. 1 doubles ranking.

Vesnina and Makarova had just won Madrid, and could have claimed the top ranking at Rome this week for the first time since teaming up in 2012. But they withdrew from the tournament, and have changed their entries for the French Open doubles.

Jelena Ostapenko confirmed she is playing with Vesnina at the French Open, quoted as telling @WTAInsider, "I was a little bit surprised when she asked me, but I was surprised in a good way because if she asked me then she thinks I can play good doubles."

Neither Vesnina or Makarova have issued any announcement about their status as a team, or said whether they plan to play together again. The Russians were among the most established pairings in women's doubles, and had frequently pointed to their friendship as a contributor to their success. A Makarova injury halted their partnership for a few months before they reunited in 2016.

Vesnina and Makarova have won three Grand Slam titles together.

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