LONDON, Great Britain -- Jelena Ostapenko and Robert Lindstedt have both won Grand Slam titles -- she in women's singles at the 2017 French Open, he in men's doubles at the 2014 Australian Open -- but they each broke new ground on Friday at Wimbledon.
Latvia's Ostapenko and Lindstedt of Sweden moved into their first Grand Slam mixed doubles final with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over China's Yang Zhaoxuan and Matwe Middelkoop of the Netherlands after one hour and 19 minutes of play on No.1 Court.
Ostapenko and Lindstedt saved two set points at 5-4 in the opener, before reeling off three games in a row to clinch the first set and easing through the second set. The Latvian/Swedish tandem, both power players, crushed 17 winners during the encounter, ten more than their opponents.
In the match, Ostapenko garnered her team the first break with an overwhelming service return on break point to go up 2-1. Yang nearly pulled her team back on serve three games later, as a return winner of her own brought up break point on Lindstedt’s serve, but the Swede maneuvered to a hold from there and went up 4-2.
After Lindstedt took an off-court medical time-out for leg issues, another Yang return winner gave her squad triple break point on the Ostapenko serve, and they got back on serve at 4-4 after a netted Lindstedt volley. After an easy hold by the Dutchman, he and Yang had won three games in a row and were a game away from a one-set lead.
Middelkoop and Yang then held two set points on Lindstedt’s serve in the following game, after errors by the Swede. Lindstedt, however, came up with powerful serves in the clutch to stave them off and hold for 5-5. It was then Lindstedt and Ostapenko who clutched the momentum, as they broke Yang for a second time behind strong returning, particularly from Lindstedt.
Serving for the set at 6-5, Ostapenko was nearly flawless, firing a brilliant down-the-line backhand winner into the corner to grab two set points of their own. The Latvian closed out the opener with a stunning service winner, grabbing the opening frame from the jaws of defeat.
From there, it was smooth sailing to a straight-set win for the leaders. Middelkoop dropped serve in the first game of the second set after an Ostapenko return clipped the netcord for a winner. The Dutchman was broken again for a 4-1 lead, at love, after an Ostapenko crosscourt backhand forced Middelkoop to hit an error on break point.
Serving for the match at 5-2, Ostapenko, a former Top 5 player in singles, had no nerves as she aimed for her first Grand Slam final in any doubles discipline. She closed out the match with an ace, and Lindstedt bowed in appreciation as they sealed their spot in the Wimbledon mixed doubles final.
Ostapenko and Lindstedt will face a stern test in the final: No.8 seeds Latisha Chan of Chinese Taipei and Croatia's Ivan Dodig. Chan and Dodig defeated Czech Kveta Peschke and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof, the No.5 seeds, 7-5, 6-4, in the second semifinal.
Chan and Dodig won their second consecutive Roland Garros mixed doubles title last month, and the duo continued their run with a 96-minute victory on Friday. Chan and Dodig held 11 break points in the match, converting three, and were only broken once as they continued their quest to win two Grand Slam events in a row.