Two Grand Slam champion teams will battle for their first Australian Open trophy in the doubles final on Friday after No.2 seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka defeated No.4 seeds Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs 7-5, 6-4, and No.3 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova overcame Darija Jurak and Nina Stojanovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Mertens and Sabalenka, the 2019 US Open winners, both bounced back from fourth-round losses in singles to reach their second major final and sixth overall together. The Belgian-Belarusian duo delivered a clutch performance to edge past Melichar and Schuurs in one hour and 36 minutes, exemplified by an edge-of-seat conclusion to the first set.
Having broken Schuurs in the 10th game with a Sabalenka return winner, the higher seeds would save five break-back points in closing the opening stanza out - two with unreturnable Mertens serves, two with Sabalenka smashes and one with a brilliant Mertens pass that threaded the needle of an unlikely angle. Another service winner sealed their first set point.
Mertens and Sabalenka came out on top of a trio of breaks at the start of the second set, capturing the Melichar serve for the first time as Sabalenka unleashed on a forehand, and held the lead through the rest of the match.
In the final, they will face Krejcikova and Siniakova for the first time since 2019 after the Czechs came from an early break down in the final set to quell their unseeded opponents. The Australian Open is the only major that Krejcikova and Siniakova have yet to win together at any level. As a dominant junior team, they swept Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2013, and five years later graduated to the women's doubles trophies in Paris and London.
That's not to say that Krejcikova and Siniakova haven't had stand-out success in Melbourne before, though: Krejcikova is the two-time defending mixed doubles champion, having won in 2019 with Rajeev Ram and 2020 with Nikola Mektic, as well as the 2013 girls' doubles runner-up with Oleksandra Korashvili. Siniakova, meanwhile, was the 2013 girls' singles finalist, losing to Ana Konjuh.
Indeed, Krejcikova remains on course for a mixed doubles hat-trick this year. Reunited with Ram, the No.6 seeds defeated 2018 champions and No.3 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic 7-6(3), 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Krejcikova and Ram are now the only seeded pair remaining in the competition. In the last four, they will face Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans, who came out on top of a quarterfinal between Australian wildcard teams by edging Arina Rodionova and Max Purcell 4-6, 7-5, [10-8] in a match tiebreak.
The quarterfinals will be completed tomorrow, when Hayley Carter and Sander Gille face wildcards Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden, and Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury take on Andreja Klepac and Neal Skupski.