MELBOURNE, Australia – Three of the top four seeds have reached the semifinal of the Women’s Doubles at the Australian Open, including Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who ended the challenge of Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The No.2 seeds proved too strong on serve for their young American rivals, winning 39 of 43 occasions they made their first delivery and thwarting their rivals on the couple of occasions that they were able to maneuver themselves to break point.
By contrast, the European duo won nearly 50% of the points on their opponents’ first serve and sent an ominous message Gauff and McNally as they broke in the opening game of the match to love.
Indeed, they would win the first 10 points of the match and would chisel out a second break before the first set was up.
The second would prove to be more competitive, with a sequence of long games at its heart that might have fallen either way.
By that point, Babos and Mladenovic had already taken the upper hand, once more breaking to love, though this time in the third game.
Although they missed match point on their opponents’ serve at 5-3, then two more on their own delivery, they sealed the win at the fourth attempt.
Chan Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan await in the semis, with the No.7 seeds having caused the only shock of Tuesday as they ousted Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, who were seeded third.
The Chinese Taipei pair won through, 7-6(7), 6-2, with the opening set lasting more than an hour in an encounter that stretched exactly 100 minutes.
Although their opponents struck eight aces to none, the Chan sisters were remarkably consistent on serve, making 84% of their first serves, allowing them to post a better points-won percentage than their bigger-hitting opponents.
The ninth game of the opening set was crucial. With the score balanced at 4-4, four break points were saved by the siblings, leading to an eventual tiebreak in which only one of 16 points went against the serve.
The second set was a more straightforward affair, with Mertens and Sabalenka both broken as their opponents streaked out into a 3-0 lead, and while they replied by getting one of those games back, Chan and Chan were able to extend their advantage before securing the match.
Top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova wasted little time in making their progress to the final four, offering five breaks of serve as they dismantled US pairing Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide in just 57 minutes.
Life was rather more complicated for No.4 seed Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who were made to come from behind before defeating No.6 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The first set escaped the higher-ranked duo in 36 minutes, with a slow start to the match costly. With an early break to their credit, Dabrowski and Ostapenko secured the set, despite the teams exchanging further breaks at the end of the set.
In the second, Krecikova and Siniakova saved the only break point they faced and took two of the three they fashioned to level the match.
It was the Canadian-Latvian partnership that struck first in the decider, but it was quickly levelled up and the vital break was sealed in the penultimate game as the Czech pairing move through to the semis for the first time at this event.