NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.3 seeds Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan set up a semifinal battle against Taylor Townsend and Asia Muhammad at the US Open after securing a straight sets victory over Lexington champions Lusia Stefani and Hayley Carter.
Melichar and Xu’s partnership began in January, and the pair were quick to find success as the pair lifted the trophy in Adelaide during the first month of the season. They’ve been one of the most consistent teams, having reached the quarterfinals or better at six of the seven events they’ve contested, including a run to the final at the Western & Southern Open after the tour’s restart.
“During this whole two weeks we’re practicing every day, and during every match we’re very competitive,” Xu said in their on-court interview. “We do what we plan, and that’s the most important thing to us for every match.”
The pair faced a tricky battle against established partners Stefani and Carter, who claimed their second title together last month at the Top Seed Open. But Melichar and Xu proved too strong, neither player surrendering a service game during the match as they broke Stefani and Carter three times en route to a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
“I think we knew exactly the game plan that we wanted to do,” Melichar said. “We’ve never played against them, but we tried to focus on ourselves and do the things that we wanted to do and I think we executed that almost perfectly. It was a really good match for us.”
The All-American duo of Townsend and Muhammad awaits Melichar and Xu in the quarterfinals, with both teams already achieving their career-best result at the US Open and aiming for their first final here.
Townsend and Muhammad booked their ticket into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Gabriela Dabrowski and Alison Riske, an unseeded but tricky team of experienced doubles players. Dabrowski owns two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, while Riske reached the semifinals at last year’s Australian Open doubles event.
Dabrowski and Riske had only played one match this fortnight and received a walkover into the quarterfinals after top seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos were withdrawn from the tournament in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
Townsend and Muhammad have played together most of the year, and were in sync on court against Dabrowski and Riske, who recently teamed up during Cincinnati. They converted four of their eight break opportunities en route to a straight sets victory in just over an hour.