Australian wildcards Sam Stosur & Matt Ebden continued their sensational run to the mixed doubles final with a 7-5 5-7 [10-8] victory against Brit Joe Salisbury & American Desirae Krawczyk on Court 3 on Friday.
There were a handful of breaks in the opening set of the fiercely-contested semi-final, but neither team could consolidate or build any advantage.
It was the Aussies who struck in the late stages, breaking Krawczyk’s serve to love in the 11th game.
Serving for the set, a steely Stosur recovered from a 0-40 deficit to hold and take the opener in 43 minutes.
Games went on serve in the second set, with both teams producing high-quality tennis, and the only break came in the 12th game, with Salisbury & Krawczyk too advantage of 3 double faults from Stosur.
The Aussies bounced back strongly in the match tiebreak, building a 6-1 lead and, with a patriotic crowd at Melbourne Park cheering them on, they withstood a late charge from their opponents to close out victory after an hour and 40 minutes on court.
Stosur hit a brilliant return winner on Salisbury’s serve at eight-all in the match tiebreak, then Ebden dutifully served out a hard-fought victory.
This is a second Australian Open mixed doubles final for the 36-year-old Stosur and her first in 16 years, stretching back to her 2005 title-winning run with Australia’s Scott Draper.
Including singles and women’s doubles, Stosur is now set to play the 14th Grand Slam final of her illustrious career.
It is also a second Australian Open mixed doubles final for 33-year-old Ebden, who won the 2013 title alongside Australian Jarmila Wolfe [nee Gajdosova] in his only previous major final appearance.
The No 6 seeds Rajeev Ram & Barbora Krejcikova await in Saturday evening’s final, with the American-Czech combination on a 9-match winning streak as a team at Melbourne Park, having claimed the Australian Open 2019 mixed doubles title together.