Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden lose to Barbora Krejčíková and Rajeev Ram in the Australian Open mixed doubles final

Australia’s Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden have gone down in straight sets in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open.

The pair lost 6-1, 6-4 to number six seeds, Barbora Krejčíková of the Czech Republic and American Rajeev Ram on Rod Laver Arena.

They struggled in the first set, broken in the opening game on Ebden’s service.

Krejčíková and Ram broke again in the third game on Stosur’s serve, with the Australians losing the deciding point on an error.

The pair raced to a 4-0 lead before their opponents got on the board with Ebden holding serve to 15. But they could not make any further inroads, with Stosur broken again in the seventh game as Krejčíková and Ram took the set 6-1 in 22 minutes.

The Australians made more inroads in the second set, and games went with serve until Krejčíková and Ram won three straight points from 30-15 down to break Ebden’s serve in the 10th game and take out the title.

“I’d like to thank Matt for playing with me,” Stosur said after the match.

“Couldn’t quite get it done tonight but I had so much fun this week. It was a pleasure to play with you.

“Really hope we can do it again some time. I’d like to thank Craig [Tiley, Australian Open tournament director], wherever you are, mostly for our wildcard into this event. Couldn’t have done that without that help.”

Stosur also thanked the fans for turning out at Melbourne Park.

Stosur, the 2011 US Open women’s singles champion, has won three mixed doubles titles and three women’s doubles titles at grand slams. Her most recent grand slam win came at Melbourne Park in 2019, when she won the women’s doubles crown with Zhang Shuai.

Krejčíková and Ram, who had been in full quarantine after arriving in Australia, went all the way in the mixed doubles competition.

It was Krejčíková’s third straight title — she won with Ram in 2019, then partnered Nikola Mektić to victory last year before rejoining Ram for this year’s tournament.

Ram also won the Australian Open men’s doubles title in 2020 with Joe Salisbury.

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Victoria Azarenka defeats Barbora Krejcikova, Ostrava Open

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has stunned the tennis world with her gravity-defying feat in the Ostrava Open.

During her round of 16 match against Czech tennis star Barbora Krejcikova in Ostrava, Azarenka fought back after losing the opening set in a double break.

Taking the match to a must-win third set, the Belarusian was serving for the match when her backhand slice skimmed across the top of the net before toppling over the other side.

Azarenka could barely comprehend what she had witnessed, crouching onto one knee and giggling in disbelief.

“That is extraordinary,” the commentator exclaimed.

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The 31-year-old finished the match with 39 winners and 18 unforced errors. She secured a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory in two hours and 13 minutes to book a spot in the quarter-finals, where she will face world No. 18 Elise Mertens.

“My fighting spirit brought me into the game,” Azarenka said.

“I started to pick up my game from there. I think it was the jump-start — my fighting spirit.

“(Krejcikova) started playing really well … I felt like she played really well the whole match, but she just played so loose. I didn’t necessarily feel I played bad, she was just one step ahead, and I felt like everything was kind of working. What helped me was kind of to understand that I had to change and adapt.

“I needed to adjust, find a new tactic, be more aggressive, come in a little bit more, and impose myself a bit more effectively.”

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Azarenka is hoping to secure her 22nd WTA singles title in Ostrava, having clinched her 21st during the Western & Southern Open earlier this year.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Elina Svitolina bowed out of the WTA tournament after losing to Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

World No. 23 Sakkari saw off Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes to clinch a quarter-final spot.

“I think my groundstrokes worked really well, I was super solid from the baseline,” the Greek star told Czech Television after the match.

“And of course my serve helped me a lot.”

— with AFP

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