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AO Doubles Take: Surprises, favorites still around Down Under
Krejcikova/Siniakova, Shibahara/Aoyama, and Ram/Salisbury are just a few top seeds still alive.
Published Jan 26, 2022
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama, and Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are just a few of the top-seeded teams that have made it deep in the draw at this year’s Australian Open. Given their title-winning pedigree, it’s no surprise that they’ve gotten this far at the first Grand Slam of the season. What could be considered a shock, though, are some of the duos joining them in the later rounds.
Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia, Kirsten Flipkens and Sara Sorribes Tormo, and Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini are a few of the unseeded teams that made it to the quarterfinal round in their respective draws. And much to the delight of the home crowd, two unseeded men’s duos are in contention for the top prize: Matt Ebden and Mel Purcell, and Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, the talk of the tournament.
The latter pair have brought a rockstar element to the men’s doubles draw, feeding off the raucous crowd support to tremendous effect. The wild cards are having a blast knocking off top teams left and right, perhaps none more impressive than the number-one seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the second round. In the semis, they’ll face the number-three seeds Horacio Zeballos and Granollers, who’ll be going for their third major final together.
Ebden and Purcell prevented what could have been a blockbuster semifinal between Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski and Ram/Salisbury by knocking out Koolhof and Skupski in a three-set thriller. The Aussie duo will attempt to stop Ram and Salisbury from reaching their third consecutive Aussie Open final.
Closing in on a first major championship match are Shibahara and Aoyama, the second seeds on the women’s side. After a slow start to the year, the Japanese are peaking at the right time, but will face a tough test against the unseeded duo of Danilina and Haddad Maia, another team on a perfect streak to start the year.
Siniakova and Krejcikova, the top seeds, look ready to add a title in Melbourne to their Grand Slam-winning resume as they have yet to drop a set. They easily moved past Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders, 6-2, 7-6 (3), to take one step closer to lifting the major trophy.
While Sanders is out, her countrywoman Jaimee Fourlis is still alive and through to the mixed doubles semifinals with compatriot Jason Kubler. The two have been on a dream run of their own, and find themselves in the company of plenty of major winners in the last four, including John Peers, as he tries to keep home hopes alive, too.