Aussie duo Sam Stosur and Matthew Ebden have booked their spot in the mixed doubles final at this years Australian Open, defeating Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury 7-5, 5-7, 10-8 in a thriller on Show Court 3.
The pair were able to fend off four break points when serving for the first set, to claim it 7-5 in 45 minutes. However, they weren't able to fend off break points to stay alive in the second set, dropping it 5-7.
The Aussies raced away to a 7-3 lead in the deciding super tiebreaker, but Krawczyk and Salisbury fought back well, winning four points in a row to level the scores. From that point onwards it took clutch returns by Stosur, and brilliant net play by Ebden for the Aussies to clinch a 10-8 win in a tight affair.
This is the first time Stosur and Ebden have teamed up together, with Stosur aiming to claim her eighth grand slam title and her seventh on the doubles court, whilst Ebden will be aiming to claim his second.
"Yeah, first time we've played with each other, but we've known each other for five, 10 years at least. Seen each other at tournaments all around the world, always say hi, how you going, what not. I've watched Sam and maybe she's seen me play as well. Pretty familiar with each other. Feels kind of natural and neutral, pretty normal out thereI suppose for a first-time pairing," Ebden said following the win.
"I think just being experienced has helped us gel quickly. We know what to expect out of the format of mixed doubles firstly, and also we know what to expect from each other, what we're after. We had some good practice sessions together. We put in some good work, quite a few hours of good practice and good warmups and good work, working on our game, getting ready for our matches. Yeah, so far so good," Ebden said.
"Really excited to play tomorrow night. I think after obviously the women's final, hopefully that's a great final, and hopefully everyone will stick around to try to watch two Aussies try to win one ourselves.
Any Grand Slam final is great. To have another one here at home for both of us in that arena after women's singles final, going to be really exciting," Stosur said.
The shaded areas on Show Court 3 were packed full of Aussies who were noticeably vocal, on Stosur & Ebden's side.
"It was a highlight for us yesterday being on Rod Laver Arena. That was extra special. Today was no different. I wasn't sad, but wanted to be on Rod Laver again.
The doubles people who played on Rod Laver today, the doubles teams, they said there was a bigger crowd out there for our mixed doubles than they had for some of the doubles. Obviously coming out supporting the Aussies.
I wasn't sure if there would be many people. Only match scheduled out there all day. Heck of an effort for everyone to come out and support us. We are really thankful and grateful. Opponents said even if the crowd was for us, it was great to have fans and atmosphere. That's what Aussie Open is all about. Hopefully tomorrow a great crowd, atmosphere, fun. We're excited for it," Ebden said.
When I asked Sam and Matt if they had decided on a team name, they admitted they hadn't, but offered up some suggestions.
"Can you help us? Stebden? Stubden? Ebster? Sanden? We'll have to put it to a vote or get some recommendations. You guys can help decide," Ebden said.