Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova won a back and forth three set semifinal against Yi-Fan Xu and Saisai Zheng to book their spot in the Australian Open women’s doubles final. The 7th seeded Czechs will face top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza for the title.
Czechs Rebound From Early Problems
Seventh seeds Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova continued their charmed existence at this year’s Australian Open on Wednesday. A day after escaping their quarterfinal, where they trailed a set and 5-2 in the second, the Czechs again were forced to play from behind. Chinese pair Yi-Fan Xu and Saisai Zheng survived three break points in their opening service game to hold as the set then went to plan until game six. That is where the 15th seeds seized control, finally breaking on the third break chance of the game for a 4-2 lead on the 7th seeded Czechs. Unphased, Hradecka-Hlavackova would break back in the next game to get back on serve. Their second serves would continue to let them down though as Xu-Zheng scored another break in the 8th game to take a 5-3 lead. The 15th seeds would close out the set on serve at 6-3. Hradecka-Hlavackova lost six of seven points on their second serves in the set with the Chinese pair committed three less errors.
The second set saw a quick turnaround for the Czechs as they broke in the second game for a quick 2-0 lead. Hradecka-Hlavackova would jump all over the 15th seeds serve in the set as they won 10 of 20 first serve points and kept the pressure constant on Xu-Zheng. The 7th seeds would fail on two break chances in the 8th game, which also served as set points. They would eventually close the set out in the 9th game after staving off three break points on their own serve for a 6-3 set win. That evened the match at one set each. The Czechs were far more crisp in the set on serve than their counterparts and slugged 15 winners, which almost equaled Xu-Zheng’s 17 through the first two sets.
The third set began ominously with bad weather rolling into the area. The two teams would sneak three games in before a rain delay hit. All three games featured breaks of serve with the Czechs left with a 2-1 advantage at the time of the delay. Following the delay, Hradecka-Hlavackova would restart with a service hold and then finish the 15th seeds off by breaking them twice more for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory. The Chinese pair could not get anything done on serve in the final set, losing 16 of 18 points. The Czechs steadied after their initial service break and held serve for the remainder of the match. For Hradecka-Hlavackova, both will be making their first Australian Open final. The two do have previous Grand Slam championships coming in 2011 at the French Open and 2013 at the U.S. Open.
Hingis-Mirza Score Another Impressive Win
They will face top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza who cruised into the final with a straight sets win over 13th seeds Julia Goerges and Kristina Pliskova. Hingis- Mirza won their 35th straight match impressively 6-1, 6-0. The top seeds won five of eight break points and saved all four off their own serves. They are bidding to win their third straight Grand Slam title after taking the doubles crowns at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last season.
Three of Four Mixed Doubles Semifinal Spots Set
The mixed doubles draw is winding down in Melbourne as well. Coco Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau crafted the biggest quarterfinal upset in beating second seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Bob Bryan 6-3, 6-7 (5), 10-6. They take on Andreja Klepac and Treat Huey in one semifinal. Klepjac-Huey were victorious in the quarters over third seeds Rohan Bopanna and Yung-Jan Chan 6-2, 7-5. The third semifinal spot was booked by 5th seeds Elena Vesnina and Bruno Soares. They knocked out Katarina Srebotnik and Jamie Murray 6-2, 6-3. They will face the winner of a marquee quarterfinal that was delayed with top seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig to face Martina Hingis and Leander Paes. Hingis-Paes are the reigning Australian Open mixed doubles champions.
Men’s Semifinals on Thursday
The men’s semifinals will take place Thursday. At Rod Laver Arena, 7th seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares will battle the seed killers, Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille. The Frenchmen have beaten three straight seeds this week, including the defending champions Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini as well as this year’s top seeds, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. The second semifinal is on Show Court 3. It features 16th seeds Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers against Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek. The Pig thinks the trend continues with at least one of the unseeded teams getting to the final.