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Hsieh, Mertens win Australian Open women's doubles

Andy Cheung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan has become the second-oldest woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title after teaming with Elise Mertens of Belgium Sunday to win the Australian Open women’s doubles.

The second-seeded pairing of Hsieh and Mertens beat 11th seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5 in Sunday’s final. It was Hsieh's seventh Grand Slam women’s doubles title and Mertens’ fourth, their second together.

Hsieh follows Rohan Bopanna of India who became the oldest men’s champion when he won the men’s doubles title Saturday with Matthew Ebden of Australia.

American Lisa Raymond was eight days older than Hseih when she won the 2011 U.S. Open women’s doubles. Martina Navratilova was 49 when she won the mixed doubles at the 2006 U.S. Open with Bob Bryan.

Hsieh has the benefit of being coached by Australian Paul McNamee who won six Grand Slam doubles titles, including two Australian Opens and was the Australian Open chief executive until 2006. She already had taken out the mixed doubles at the current tournament with Jan Zielinski of Poland.

Mertens has two Wimbledon and two French Open women’s doubles titles, including both of those titles last year. This was her first Grand Slam title Down Under and her first on a hard-court.

Hsieh and Mertens needed only 1 hour, 33 minutes on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday to pad their already impressive Grand Slam resumes. They took the first set in just over half and hour. The second set was much tighter as Mertens lost her serve in the opening game. She recovered to serve for the championship at 5-3 but was broken again.

Finally, Hsieh and Mertens took the match when they broke Kichenok in the 12th game. Mertens leapt into the air in delight; Hsieh was more reserved.

They make a formidable combination, Mertens with the stronger serve, Hsieh with skillful touches around the net and flat, strong ground-strokes.

“It was a tough final,” Mertens said. “The second set was really close.

“It was a really great match for us and we had to stay focused all the time.”

Ostapenko and Kichenok faced a tough road to the final, beating the U.S. Open champions Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals.

They lacked communication and teamwork in the first set but worked better together in the second in which Ostapenko’s serve was dependable. Kichenok lost her serve in the fourth, eight and final games.

Kichenok ended her comments at the presentation ceremony with the words ‘Slava Ukraini, Glory to Ukraine’.


AP tennis:

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