Sam Stosur clinched the doubles title 13 years after blowing match points against Yan Zi and Zheng Jie. This time, in her 13th major final, the former No.1 doubles player came through with clutch serving to win 6-3 6-4 alongside good friend Zhang Shuai. Stosur touchingly talked Zhang out of retiring three years ago.
Stosur, 34, and Zhang, 30, put out the top seeds in the quarterfinals and No.2 seeds and defending champions Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos in the final for arguably the feel-good story of the fortnight.
Lisa Raymond, Stosur’s partner in that traumatic 2006 final, was one of the first to congratulate the new title-winners.
No less than 11 women were in the hunt for the No.1 ranking at Melbourne Park, including incumbent Simona Halep. The last woman standing was appropriately the new Australian Open champion. Naomi Osaka is the first Asian to rank No.1 in tennis.
12 break points
The most stunning stat in Stefanos Tsitsipas’ momentous 6-7(11) 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(5) defeat of defending champ Roger Federer was 12 break points saved. “I also didn’t break him at the Hopman Cup [in their first meeting],” Federer rued.
Local hero Dylan Alcott achieved his record fifth Australian Open Quad Wheelchair title, a 6-4 7-6(2) winner over long-time rival and No.2 seed David Wagner. But Alcott, 28, was even more euphoric at winning unprecedented visibility for wheelchair tennis, with the final telecast live for the first time on mainstream channels.
“To broadcast it live to the world, never been done in a final, that’s huge for the movement of parasports, everything I believe in,” said the 28-year-old Melburnian.
That wheelchair tennis has gone mainstream is in no small part due to Alcott’s activism, towering record and winning personality.