Melbourne | Hsieh & Zielinski win AO Mixed Doubles title

Taipei’s Hsieh Su-Wei & Jan Zielinski from Poland snatched the Australian Open mixed doubles title out of the grasp of American Desirae Krawczyk & Neal Skupski of Great Britain, 6-7(5) 6-4 [11-9], on Friday, who held a championship point in the match tiebreak, claiming their first major title as a team.

It was exciting, and my partner is very good. I know he's very good from the baseline, at the net, and the serve. I just need to do my stuff to put the ball inside the court and pass the net person. This is my job, very clear. He's doing his job, so I'm doing my job and we're doing good. Hsieh Su-Wei

“It means a lot,” said Zielinski. “Since yesterday I was getting a lot of messages, a lot of statistics that there were four Polish players who had lost in the [mixed] finals before.

“But Su-Wei said before the match, when we were walking onto the warm-up, that she’s a curse-breaker. She is. Thanks to her for breaking the Polish curse in the mixed doubles finals.”

Coming into the 2024 season, Hsieh Su-wei had won 6 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles, but none in mixed, and she finally got her hands on one at the first major of the year.

The No 3 seeds squeaked out their nail-biting win by outlasting 2nd-seeded Krawczyk & Skupski in just under 2 hours.

“It was exciting, and my partner is very good,” Hsieh said at their press conference afterwards. “I know he’s very good from the baseline, at the net, and the serve.

“I just need to do my stuff to put the ball inside the court and pass the net person. This is my job, very clear. He’s doing his job, so I’m doing my job and we’re doing good.”

Hsieh & Zielinski teamed up at nearly the last minute this fortnight, and it paid off with the title.

“When I saw Su-wei’s name on the looking list, I was like, ‘Oh, actually, this could be the best partner I ever had,'” Zielinski said. “It’s a great feeling. I’m very happy I was able to do it with such a legend on court and magician. Yeah, it was a great run.”

Desirae Krawczyk & Neal Skupski held a championship point but lost to Hsieh Su-wei & Jan Zielinski in the match tiebreak

© Phil Walter/Getty Images

On Rod Laver Arena, Hsieh & Zielinski fought back from a set and a break down at 7-6, 4-2, reeling off 4 games in a row to steal the second set and line up a decisive match tiebreak.

Hsieh & Zielinski then led 4-0 and 6-2 in the breaker, but Krawczyk & Skupski made a dramatic come-back and returned to level footing, and they held a match point at 9-8 after 2 consecutive aces by Skupski.

A pair of overhead winners, though, one each by Hsieh and Zielinski, gave their team a championship point at 10-9, which they converted after a netted volley by Skupski., and they finished the match with 22 winners to their opponents’ 19.

The mixed doubles title is the first at a Grand Slam in any discipline for 27-year-old Zielinski, who was runner-up at last year’s Australian Open in the men’s doubles partnering Hugo Nys, while Krawczyk was a point away from completing the career Grand Slam in mixed doubles before finishing runner-up.

The 30-year-old American won back-to-back Wimbledons with Skupski in 2021 and 2022, and she teamed with another Brit, Joe Salisbury, to win Roland Garros and the US Open in 2021.

Mixed champions Hsieh Su-wei (L) & Jan Zielinski of Poland pose with the trophy alongside runners-up Neal Skupski (R) & Desirae Krawczyk on Friday

© William West/AFP via Getty Images

Hsieh could further increase her Grand Slam title total later this weekend as she is also in the women’s doubles final alongside Elise Mertens from Belgium.

The 38-year-old has won 4 Wimbledon and 2 Roland Garros titles, and is seeking her first AO women’s doubles title.

No 2 seeds Hsieh & Mertens booked their spot in the doubles final by winning a gripping semi-final, 7-5 1-6 6-3, over 3rd-seeded Storm Hunter & Katerina Siniakova on Thursday.

Under a closed roof on Margaret Court Arena, Hsieh & Mertens took 2 hours and 35 minutes to overcome the Aussie-Czech pair in an engrossing match involving 4 players who have all held the WTA Doubles World No 1 ranking.

Hsieh & Mertens edged out the victory, demonstrating the teamwork that won them the 2021 Wimbledon title as a pairing, and this tournament is their first Grand Slam event back together since that 2021 season.

“It’s a little bit different because we haven’t played [together] for a few years,” Hsieh said. “But I know what she’s doing, [because] I was watching her at home on the TV. I have a big TV to make sure I follow all the girls.”

“Sometimes I know what she’s doing too,” Mertens followed up, to laughter.

Hsieh & Mertens came back from 4-0 down to steal the first set, but Hunter & Siniakova built a similar lead in the second, and refused to let that opportunity slip again, levelling the match.

The 2nd seeds stayed steely down the stretch, fending off all 6 break points they faced in the third set, and converted their only break point of the final set, with a deft Hsieh reflex volley giving them a 5-3 lead.

After saving one last break point in that game, another winning volley by Hsieh set up match point, which they converted with a glorious Mertens crosscourt backhand.

The second semi-final, which took place on Friday to determine Hsieh & Mertens’ opponents in Sunday’s final, was won by the No 11 seeds, Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Kichenok & Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia, who upset the No 4 seeds, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe from New Zealand, last year’s US Open champions, 7-5 7-5.



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