MELBOURNE, January 25: Unseeded pair Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai took out the Australian Open women’s doubles title on Friday to be crowned Grand Slam champions at Melbourne Park for the first time.
The Australian-Chinese combination battled past Hungarian-French second seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic — last year’s champions — 6-3, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.
“Today, it is a dream true for me,” said Zhang, who won her first Grand Slam doubles title.
Stosur added: “Shuai, it is always a pleasure being on court with you, we have a great friendship.”
It was their maiden Slam crown as a team, although Stosur had previously won the 2005 US Open and 2006 French Open in a partnership with Lisa Raymond that earned them 20 titles altogether.
En route to the title, Stosur and Zhang knocked out reigning French Open and Wimbledon champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. (AFP)
Djokovic sets up title clash with Nadal
MELBOURNE, January 25: Novak Djokovic said he was “in the zone” and played a “perfect match” Friday to line up a blockbuster Australian Open final against his great rival Rafael Nadal.
“Today was a perfect match for me from the first to the last point,” said the Serbian after destroying 28th seed Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in just 83 minutes On Rod Laver Arena.
“I executed everything that I intended to and even more than I have expected,” said the world number one after a flawless display put him into a first Melbourne decider since 2016.
“It is definitely one of the best matches I’ve ever had on this court, definitely,” added Djokovic, who hit 24 winners and had just five unforced errors.
“Every professional athlete wants to be in the zone, where everything flows so effortlessly and you are executing automatically everything you are intending to execute,” Djokovic said, explaining a sublime performance where he conceded no break point.
“You don’t need to think too much. I guess you’re driven by some force that takes over you and you feel divine, you feel like in a different dimension. It’s quite an awesome feeling that we all try to reach and stay in.”
Pouille was left powerless on the other side of the net. (AFP)