Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova ended the run of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato on Wednesday to reach the final of the Australian Open.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova ended the run of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato on Wednesday to reach the final of the Australian Open.

Despite the gulf in experience, Mattek-Sands and Safarova were forced to battle all the way, eventually triumphing, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, to set up a final showdown against Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai.

Mattek-Sands and Safarova, competing together in the last four of Grand Slam for the fourth time, made their experience tell early on, racing through the opening set before threatening another break at the start of the second. Instead, though, it was the unseeded Japanese duo that struck, capitalizing on a couple of errors at the net from the No.2 seeds to move 4-3 ahead.

Hozumi and Kato maintained this advantage to force a decider, in which they gallantly hung onto the favorites' coattails. However, with a maiden major final within touching distance they buckled under the pressure, dropping serve to love in the final game of the match.

In the second semifinal, Hlavackova and Peng upset the top seeds, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, 7-5, 6-2.