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Hsieh and Zielinski have "decent run" to first trophy of AO 2024

  • Leigh Rogers

History has been made in the Australian Open 2024 mixed doubles final.

In the first championship match between two top-four seeded teams at Melbourne Park in 23 years, Hsieh Su-wei and Jan Zielinski emerged triumphant.

MORE: Australian Open 2024 mixed doubles draw

The No.3 seeds fought past second seeds American Desirae Krawczyk and Brit Neal Skupski, 6-7(5) 6-4 [11-9] in an enthralling and high-quality final at Rod Laver Arena.

Hsieh and Zielinski saved a championship point in a high-pressure match tiebreak, before sealing victory in just under two hours.

It is a first major mixed doubles title for both 38-year-old Hsieh and 27-year-old Zielinski, who fought back from a 2-4 deficit in the second set then almost squandered a 7-4 advantage in a thrilling match tiebreak.

Their steely victory sees Hsieh become the first player from Chinese Taipei to win an Australian Open mixed doubles title, while Zielinski is the first Polish player in history to capture a major mixed doubles crown.

“It means a lot,” Zielinski said of their achievement. “Since yesterday I was getting a lot of messages, a lot of statistics that there were four Polish players [who] lost in the finals before. Had match points even.

“It started crumbling in my head today when we were up a lot in the super tiebreak, and then things started getting out of control a little bit. We were down a match point. Saved the match point. I was, like, ‘I don't want to be this next guy that, you know, we had chances again and people are going to be talking’.

“But Su-Wei said before the match, when we were walking onto the warm-up, that she's a curse breaker, so thanks to her for breaking the Polish curse in the mixed doubles finals.”

Adding to the drama behind this victory was a lacklustre record in mixed doubles and the last-minute nature of their partnership.

Prior to this tournament, world No.17 Zielinski had not won a mixed doubles match at Grand Slam level. While world No.6 Hsieh had never progressed beyond the semifinals in her 24 previous appearances in a major mixed doubles draw. 

“I didn't know until the last minute who am I going to play with,” Zielinski said. “I was coming into Melbourne not really aiming for the mixed doubles.

“I lost four times in the first round last year, so I was coming in just to have fun and see how it goes.

“When I saw Su-wei's name on the looking list, I was, like, ‘Oh, actually, this could be the best partner I ever had. Let's give it a try, let's text, let's see if she wants to play’. 

“I knew before we stepped on court, Su-wei is a very experienced doubles player. You know, she has a ton of experience under her, and she can carry us a long way. It ended up being a decent run, I would say.”

Their inexperience as a team, however, was in stark contrast to 30-year-old Krawczyk and 34-year-old Skupski. The two-time Wimbledon champions entered the final looking to record their 21st win in their 25th match together, as well as create their own history.

World No.16 Krawczyk was attempting to complete a career Grand Slam, a feat only four women in the Open era have previously managed, while world No.10 Skupski could have become the first British player to win an Australian Open mixed doubles title in 33 years.

Hsieh has the chance to win another Australian Open title on Sunday, when she competes in the women’s doubles final alongside Belgium’s Elise Mertens.