Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens padded their exceptional Grand Slam title records at the 2024 Australian Open on Sunday, winning the women's doubles title with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.
On Rod Laver Arena, No.2 seeds Hsieh and Mertens took 1 hour and 33 minutes to prevail over 11th-seeded Kichenok and Ostapenko, who were contesting their first Grand Slam final in women's doubles.
"These are the stages you want to win," Mertens said in the champions' press conference. "As long as we still enjoy it and still get that motivation and everything, I think it's just very important. ... Of course it's a bit nerve-racking. You know, these matches are what you play for."
By the numbers: Sunday marks Hsieh's seventh Grand Slam title in women's doubles, but her first Down Under. Hsieh has won four Wimbledon titles and two Roland Garros titles -- including both of those events last year, with two different partners -- and now she has claimed her first hard-court women's doubles major.
At 38 years and 24 days old, Chinese Taipei's Hsieh becomes the second-oldest woman to win a Grand Slam women's doubles title. American Lisa Raymond was eight days older than Hsieh when she won the 2011 US Open.
Hsieh completed a perfect weekend in the doubles disciplines with her latest triumph. On Friday, Hsieh won the first mixed doubles Grand Slam title of her career partnering Jan Zielinski.
This is Mertens' fourth Grand Slam title in women's doubles, and her first since she teamed with Hsieh to win 2021 Wimbledon. It is the Belgian's second Australian Open title -- she won the 2021 championship in Melbourne alongside the current singles champion, Aryna Sabalenka.
Mertens will return to WTA Doubles World No.1 after this event. She rose to the World No.1 ranking for the first time on May 10, 2021, and will be spending her 28th week at the apex starting on Monday. Hsieh, another former Doubles World No.1, will rise from No.6 to No.2 on Monday.
Match moments: After Hsieh and Mertens grabbed a routine first set, the second set became a true tussle from start to finish. Powerful hitting by Kichenok and Ostapenko helped them erase nine game points against them spanning the first two games of the second set, and they grabbed a 2-0 lead.
But deft lobs by Mertens and stellar volleys from Hsieh allowed the No.2 seeds to reel off five of the next six games. Mertens, though, could not serve out the match at 5-3, and Kichenok and Ostapenko reached parity again at 5-5.
However, after a clutch hold for 6-5 by Hsieh, she and Mertens raced to triple championship point on the Kichenok serve, and a netted volley by Ostapenko gave the victors a break at love. Hsieh and Mertens won 77 percent of points returning their opponents' second serves in the final.
"For me, most important is having some fun," Hsieh said in press. "Sometime you can laugh, even [if you're] losing 0-5 on the court, is not a big deal. It's always teamwork."
"We have so much fun, honestly," Mertens added. "Off court, on court. I mean, it's very fun to play with Su-wei.
"I don't know what she's doing sometimes, but..." Mertens continued, to laughter.