Doubles wrap: Dodig/Polasek in upset, Ebden/Stosur shine

  • Gillian Tan

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek reached the Australian Open 2021 men’s doubles final with an upset over second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 4-6 6-4 6-3 on Thursday.

MORE: All the scores from Day 11 at AO 2021

In warm conditions, the Croatian/Slovakian ninth seeds won only three more points than their opponents, who had been unbeaten in 2021. But two of those were, crucially, break points in a match that featured a lone break per set.

“For me, it was the third semifinal in a [Grand] Slam and the first time we made it through,” said Polasek, who with Dodig lost in the semifinals of Wimbledon 2019 and Australian Open 2020. 

“It was a huge relief and I am just super happy – today was a great match, the guys played very well, just few points decide[d it] and [I’m] happy it ended up for us.”

Dodig, a 2015 Roland Garros men’s doubles champion with Marcelo Melo, was similarly pleased. “Today we found the small things, we didn’t give them so many easy points and that was the key of the match,” he said. “[I’m] really happy with this win.”

The pair exacted revenge on Mektic-Pavic, who defeated them in straight sets in the Antalya Open final in January. They will face either defending champions and fifth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury or the sixth-seeded pairing of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who play their semifinal on Friday afternoon. 

In other Thursday action, Australian wildcards Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden secured a mixed doubles semifinals berth, dismissing Hayley Carter and Sander Gille 6-3 6-2 in exactly an hour.

“We're combining really well, we're enjoying it, we're having some fun,” said Stosur. 

They’re yet to drop a set in Melbourne, and knocked out Brazilian eighth seeds Luisa Stefani and Bruno Soares in the second round.

“Obviously we know we're both accomplished players … singles, doubles, mixed doubles,” said Ebden. “We sort of know what we're doing out there. Now we know how to do it together – so far so good, one by one, go again tomorrow.”

Ebden and Stosur continued their impressive showing at home

The Australians next face the Anglo-American pairing of Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury, who sailed past Andreja Klepac and Neal Skupski 6-3 6-4.

“It’s our first semifinal together … we’re just really happy to have got this far and to be playing well together,” Salisbury said. 

“We did play well in those big moments, I think Joe really served well, I think we just complement each other … it’s nice to get this far,” Krawczyk added.

Another local wildcard pairing of Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans had their campaign ended by sixth seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram, who earned a 6-3 6-3 victory in 64 minutes. The Czech-American team are the first duo into the mixed doubles final, where they’ll meet either Stosur-Ebden or Krawczyk-Salisbury.