ORDER OF PLAY

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM (12 noon)
[3] Nicole MELICHAR (USA) / XU Yifan (CHN) vs Laura SIEGEMUND (GER) / Vera ZVONAREVA (RUS)

LEARNING

No.3 seeds Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan take on the unseeded Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva in the US Open doubles final. Both are relatively new partnerships - Melichar and Xu began playing together at the end of 2019, while this is the first tournament Siegemund and Zvonareva have played as a team - but individually, each player has substantial doubles accomplishments behind her.

Zvonareva is the only player to have lifted the US Open women's doubles trophy before, having partnered Nathalie Dechy to the 2006 title, defeating Dinara Safina and Katarina Srebotnik in the final. This is the 36-year-old Russian's fourth Grand Slam women's doubles final with a fourth different partner: she was also the 2012 Australian Open champion alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova (beating Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci), and the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up with Elena Vesnina (losing to Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova).

2004 US Open mixed doubles champions Vera Zvonareva and Bob Bryan.

Photo by Getty Images

Both Siegemund and Zvonareva are former US Open mixed doubles champions. At the age of 20, Zvonareva joined Bob Bryan to win the title here in 2004, defeating Alicia Molik and Todd Woodbridge in the final; in 2016, Siegemund partnered Mate Pavic to lift the trophy with a final victory over CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram. Zvonareva was also the 2006 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion alongside Andy Ram, beating Venus Williams and her own erstwhile partner Bob Bryan in the final.

Melichar's two previous Grand Slam finals both came at Wimbledon 2018, when the American was runner-up in women's doubles alongside Kveta Peschke, losing to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, but mixed doubles champion with Alexander Peya after beating Victoria Azarenka and Jamie Murray.

Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic celebrate winning the 2016 US Open mixed doubles title.

Photo by Getty Images

Xu is the only player in today's final who is yet to win a Grand Slam title. The 32-year-old Chinese player reached her first major final at Wimbledon last year with Gabriela Dabrowski, coming runner-up to Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova. Xu's biggest title to date is Miami in 2017, also alongside Dabrowski.

Melichar and Xu have now reached three finals out of eight tournaments in which they have competed as a team so far, having won the Adelaide title in January and come runner-up in Cincinnati last week to Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs.

2020 Adelaide doubles champions Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan.

Photo by Getty Images

This is Siegemund's first doubles final since Guangzhou last year (alongside Peng Shuai), and the German's ninth overall. Zvonareva, meanwhile, has reached 16 WTA-level doubles finals in her career - and since returning from maternity leave in 2017, has won all three title matches she has played: St. Petersburg 2018 with Timea Bacsinszky, the 2018 Moscow River Cup with Anastasia Potapova and Budapest 2019 with Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Both teams reached the semifinals this week without dropping a set, but both would need to battle hard in the last four. Melichar and Xu needed to save a match point in the deciding tiebreak before defeating Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7), while Siegemund and Zvonareva twice came from a break down in the third set to beat Anna Blinkova and Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

TRENDING

READING

The women's singles competition featured three mothers in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in history, with Victoria Azarenka emerging from their battles to make the final - and Vera Zvonareva's doubles run has ensured that there will be a mother in both singles and doubles finals this week. The Russian opened up about her comeback and life as a mother both on tour and at home to Nina Pantic for Baseline.

Xu Yifan is one of just two Chinese players who competed at this year's US Open, a much smaller contingent than usual - but the Tianjin native's success in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it "extra special" for her, she tells Sun Xiaochen for China Daily.

WATCHING

2020 Cincinnati Doubles highlights: Xu and Melichar hold off Gauff and McNally