The top-ranked doubles team in the world will take on a new pairing who has yet to lose a match in the 2022 Australian Open women's doubles final.
No.1-seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won their semifinal over No.3 seeds Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 6-3. Krejcikova and Siniakova are into their second straight Australian Open women's doubles final.
They will meet the surging tandem of Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil for the title. The unseeded team notched their ninth straight victory by upsetting Japanese No.2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in their semifinal clash.
Krejcikova and Siniakova are now a win away from their first Australian Open women's doubles title, having finished as runners-up to Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka last season.
The Czechs hope to move one step closer to completing the career Grand Slam in women's doubles. The duo have won two Roland Garros titles, in 2018 and 2021, as well as the 2018 Wimbledon title, leaving the hard-court majors in Australia and the U.S. as their last remaining tasks.
Last year's Olympic gold medalists Krejcikova and Siniakova took an hour and 11 minutes to dismiss the third seeds, preventing Mertens from winning a second straight title in Melbourne with two different partners.
"We had to go through a lot of tough matches to get to the final, so I think I can say for both of us that we’re really proud and looking forward to the final," Krejcikova said on court, after the semifinal victory.
The Czechs hit 18 winners combined, doubling the winner total from their opponents. Krejcikova and Siniakova only dropped serve once in the match while converting five of their six break chances to cruise to victory.
Krejcikova and Siniakova broke the Mertens serve twice to clinch the first set. Things got trickier for the top seeds in the second set when Mertens held for the first time for 2-1. After that, Kudermetova slammed a backhand volley to break Siniakova and give the third seeds a 3-1 lead.
But typically outstanding volleying by the Czechs helped them turn that set around, and the No.1 and No.2-ranked doubles players in the world reeled off five straight games to sweep to victory and book a spot in yet another Grand Slam final.
Earlier, Danilina and Haddad Maia continued to triumph in the nascent stages of their partnership and move into the first Grand Slam final of their careers.
The major breakthrough continues a perfect start to their 2022, as they improved their team win-loss record to 9-0. Danilina and Haddad Maia paired up for the first time in Sydney two weeks ago, where they promptly won the title, defeating Aoyama and Shibahara in the semifinals en route.
Danilina and Haddad Maia ousted the Japanese pair again, this time on Rod Laver Arena, taking two hours and 19 minutes to overcome the No.2 seeds. Danilina and Haddad Maia had six more winners and three fewer unforced errors than Aoyama and Shibahara.
"Of course winning Sydney was amazing, it was our first title at [WTA 500 level], together and separately," Danilina said on court, after the match. "But we’re just trying to focus on every match here, because Sydney was two weeks ago, and in doubles everything changes so fast. So we’re just trying to focus on our things and go from match to match, basically from point to point."
What a run in Melbourne! 👏— wta (@WTA) January 27, 2022
🇰🇿 Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia 🇧🇷 are into their first ever Grand Slam final 🏆, with an upset over the No.2 seeds Aoyama/Shibahara 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.pic.twitter.com/4pYhI5jKAQ
The unseeded team took the first set in 37 minutes and were also in early control in the second set, breaking Aoyama for a 2-1 lead. Danilina and Haddad Maia even had a match point on the Shibahara serve at 5-3, but it was erased by a forehand winner.
After that recovery from match point down, Aoyama and Shibahara, who were 5-0 in WTA doubles finals last year, went on a tear. The Japanese duo broke Haddad Maia when the Brazilian served for the match at 5-4, and they collected the last four games of the second set to level the match at a set apiece.
But Danilina and Haddad Maia were unfazed as they fought to keep their winning streak alive. They broke Aoyama to lead 2-1 in the final set, and held onto that advantage to give Haddad Maia another chance to serve out the match at 5-4. This time, the Brazilian stormed to a love hold.
"It was not easy for me to lose my serve when I was serving for the match [in the second set], serving to go to my first Grand Slam final," Haddad Maia said on court. "As we did in the last matches, I think we had tough moments, and we just tried to keep going, even with these tough situations. I’m very happy we have another chance [in the final] to do better."