Djokovic to reach Open final, new pairing won for doubles

AFP and AP

World number one Novak Djokovic fought off Stan Wawrinka over five tense sets to master the defending champion and reach his fifth Australian Open final on Friday, where he will meet Andy Murray. The Serb top seed won 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in 3hr 30mins and will face the British sixth seed for a third time in Sunday’s Grand Slam decider. It was Djokovic’s toughest match of the tournament and his serve was broken five times in another titanic duel with the Swiss world number four. The clash was their fourth straight Grand Slam encounter to go to five sets with Djokovic winning three of them. He lost to Wawrinka in the quarter-finals at last year’s Australian Open. The top seed won through to his fifth Australian Open final, having won his previous four deciders in Melbourne. He beat Murray in the 2011 and 2013 finals. But Murray also has form against Djokovic, beating him in the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Wimbledon finals, setting up an unpredictable Melbourne Park decider. It was not a convincing performance from the Serb, who made 49 unforced errors to 27 winners and won just 70 percent of his first serves, but crucially he broke Wawrinka’s strong serve seven times. Mattek-Sands, Safarova Win Australian Open Doubles Title Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won the Australian Open women’s doubles title on Friday in their first tournament together as a partnership, beating Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Not only had Mattek-Sands and Safarova never played together before the first Grand Slam of the year, they had never even practiced together.

It marked the first time a new pairing had won a Grand Slam title since Nathalie Dechy of France and Russia’s Dinara Safina captured the 2007 U.S. Open title.

Mattek-Sands, a 29-year-old from Wisconsin known for her adventurous tennis outfits and multi-hued hair, was out for six months last year while recovering from hip surgery and wasn’t sure she would play doubles at Melbourne Park.

The two came together in the off-season because Safarova’s coach is friends with Mattek-Sands’ husband, Justin.

It’s the first Grand Slam trophy for the Czech player. Mattek-Sands previously won the 2012 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Romanian Horia Tecau.