Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic win the mixed doubles Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic win the mixed doubles

More doubles glory for Pavic

Match Report

It’s double joy for Croatian Mate Pavic at Melbourne Park this year as he upped the ante on his men’s doubles crown by teaming with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski to capture the mixed doubles title on Sunday.

The pair claimed the final only after saving a match point in a highly entertaining affair against Rohan Bopanna and Timea Babos that ended in a match tiebreak 2-6 6-4 [11-9].

“It feels pretty good, I have to say,” Pavic said of his two titles this fortnight. “I did not imagine that I'm able to do that. If somebody would have told me, I wouldn't believe him.”

"I'm super happy,” Dabrowski added. “Australia has always been one of my favourite places in the whole world. It feels really special to be able to do well and play well and win here.”

With the roof at Rod Laver Arena closed due to the sweltering heat, the winning duo, seeded fifth, started slowly as their opponents broke them early and extended their advantage to snatch the first set with relative ease in just 24 minutes.

The No.8 seed’s stranglehold on the match was short-lived however, with Pavic and Dabrowski lifting measurably to level the match.

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28 Jan 18
The super tiebreak that saw Dabrowski/Pavic defeat Babos/Bopanna in the mixed doubles final, Australian Open 2018.

Mixed Doubles Final: Super Tiebreak between Babos/Bopanna v Dabrowski/Pavic

Video

The Croatian/Canadian pair looked likely to stay on top heading into the match tiebreak and that was borne out; they won the first three points as their opposition’s intensity continued to wane. But it was the elder statesmen on court, Bopanna, at 37, who seemed to have the outcome on his racquet, and some exquisite shot-making saw the match on a knife edge at 6-6 when the two pairs crossed.

In a rollercoaster of emotions, it was anybody’s title until Bopanna threaded a forehand past Debrowski at the net to bring up a match point. But Pavic more than stood up to the task, belting down two consecutive aces to bring up a match point of their own. 

With the spotlight now on Debrowski, she delivered with a beautifully-timed off-forehand return to claim victory. 

Pavic and Dabrowski each now have two major mixed doubles titles to their name; the 24-year-old Croatian won the 2016 US Open with Laura Siegemund while Dabrowski, interestingly, won the French Open last year with Bopanna – who stood opposite her on Sunday.

And will the pair team up again and try to add to their success in Melbourne? “Why not?” said a smiling Pavic. “I think we did a pretty good job this week.”

In a final that would ultimately always see one player on court twice-crowned this year, it ended in bittersweet disappointment for Babos, 24, who captured her first major title in the women’s doubles here on Friday with French partner Kristina Mladenovic.