MELBOURNE, Australia - The 2020 Australian Open mixed doubles semifinals will find the last two champions taking each other on after No.3 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Henri Kontinen squeezed out a 7-5, 7-6(2) nailbiter over No.6 seeds Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig to set up a clash with No.5 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic, who had earlier taken out the unseeded Nadiia Kichenok and Rohan Bopanna 6-0, 6-2.
Dabrowski, the 2018 winner alongside Mate Pavic, had since fallen to Chan and Dodig in two consecutive Roland Garros finals in 2018 and 2019, also with Pavic. Kontinen, too, had suffered Grand Slam defeat at the hands of the Chinese Taipei-Croat duo, who had beaten Kontinen and Heather Watson in the third round of Wimbledon 2018. Together, though, the Finnish-Canadian pair finally found the key to overcoming Chan and Dodig's power, going for their returns and nailing key volleys at the most important junctures.
The first 10 games of the match saw both teams protecting their serves efficiently. Kontinen, Chan and Dabrowski would all have to fend off break points, but no-nonsense volleying team ensured the service hold each time. At 5-5, though, a ferocious Kontinen return set the 29-year-old's team up for another crack at the Chan delivery - and a smart Dabrowski backhand volley sealed the break before the Canadian served out the opening act on her third set point.
As in the first set, service holds dominated the initial passage of play in the second, with only Dodig facing - and saving - break points in the first six games. Some more brilliance from Kontinen on the return, pass and volley would capture the Chan serve twice more in the set, breaking for 4-3 and then 6-5 - but each time, the Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions would battle hard, with Chan in particular upping the ante on return to break Dabrowski back immediately.
A Dodig double fault would get their tiebreak off on the wrong foot from the off, though, and thereafter Dabrowski and Kontinen took control at net as Dodig in particular fell away, with the Croat losing the last two points of the match with a half-volley error and then a netted smash.
In the semifinals, Dabrowski and Kontinen will face defending champion Krejcikova, who won her first mixed doubles major last year here with Rajeev Ram, and the Czech's new partner Nikola Mektic. Krejcikova and Mektic needed only 47 minutes to dispatch Kichenok and Bopanna in a dominant performance, during which they did not face a single break point or deciding point.