ADELAIDE, Australia - The top seeds Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan saved match points and came back from a set down against Gabriela Dabrowski and Darija Jurak to claim their first title of the season at the Adelaide International.
Playing in their second tournament as a team in 2020, Melichar and Xu turned around a one-sided opening set loss and combined for eight breaks of serve to win, 2-6, 7-5, [10-5] in a hard-fought one-hour and 29-minute battle.
“It’s awesome [to start the season with a title], especially on a comeback,” Melichar told press afterward. “Hopefully it can continue. After winning a title after being down, it means that we can just fight for every point. Anything can happen.”
Although both teams are new-look partnerships formed after a busy off-season, they’re far from strangers. In fact, the last time Dabrowski and Xu met on a tennis court, they were on the same side of the net at the WTA Finals, which they qualified for after a solid season that saw them reach the final at Wimbledon and Madrid and winning in Nurnberg. They ended their three-year partnership during the off-season.
Now partnered with Melichar, Xu claimed her first doubles title in seven months, and her tenth career title overall, while the American lifted her seventh trophy.
“We had chances in the second set, a lot of deuce games that didn’t go our way, and we ended up being down 4-1,” Melichar said. “And basically, we knew we had to go for it or it was going to be over.”
It was very nearly over - just one point away, in fact - as Dabrowski and Jurak edged in front, reeling off four games in a row to close out the first set 6-2, and powered their way to a double break lead in the second, 4-1. As Melichar and Xu began mounting their comeback, Dabrowski and Jurak earned two match points at 5-3, but their opponents stayed firm to stay in the match.
After winning the last four consecutive games, the top seeds were back in the contest as they clawed back the second set and sent the match into a tiebreaker. After a tight start, which saw Melichar and Xu surge ahead only for Dabrowski and Jurak to keep catching up, they finally pulled away, reeling off the last five points in a row to claim their first title of the season.
“I think the match could have gone both ways at the end,” Xu said during the trophy presentation. “I think we had a really great match, the four of us. We all fought until the end of the match.”