It will be a No.1 vs. No.2 women’s doubles championship match at Wimbledon 2022.
1 seeds Elise Mertens and Zhang Shuai battled to a tough victory in the women’s doubles semi-final on Friday, beating non-seeded Danielle Collins and Desirae Krawczyk 6-2, 3-6, 6- 3 and qualifying for Sunday’s final.
Playing their third event together as a team, Zhang and Mertens, world number one in the WTA doubles, needed an hour and 42 minutes to fend off the Americans’ comeback.
Defending champion Mertens now has a chance to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles with two different partners. The Belgian, who is aiming for her fourth Grand Slam doubles title, won the title last year alongside Hsieh Su-wei.
Zhang, making her first appearance in the Wimbledon final, is aiming for her third Grand Slam title in women’s doubles. Her previous two major titles have been paired with Samantha Stosur at the 2019 Australian Open and last year’s US Open.
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Mertens and Zhang hadn’t dropped a set all week and also started the semi-final in blistering fashion, taking a 4-0 lead. Zhang’s volleys were accurate and Mertens found great serves to come from 0-30 down in the final game of the opener, capping the one-set lead with an ace.
But after a set and a breakdown, Collins and Krawczyk won the second set, taking control at the net and breaking Mertens for 5-3 en route to parity. The Americans won 18% of their second-serve points in the first set, but 64% of those in the second set.
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However, Mertens and Zhang regrouped at the end of the third set, using sublime communication to triumph in extended points and break Krawczyk in a long 4-3 game. Mertens fired solid volleys in the final game on the way to match point, where Collins sent a return wide.
The seeds predicted this fortnight’s final perfectly, as Mertens and Zhang will now face No. 2 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova for the Wimbledon title.
In the previous semi-final on center court, Krejcikova and Siniakova edged past No. 4 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.
The Czechs, who have been longtime doubles partners since juniors, took 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the Wimbledon women’s doubles final for the second time. Krejcikova and Siniakova won the title in 2018, the year they won back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Krejcikova and Siniakova dominated on the return, allowing Kichenok and Ostapenko to win just 42% of their first-serve points. The Czech duo, Olympic gold medalists in women’s doubles last year, converted six of their eight break points to take the win.
The Czechs will now be looking to win their fifth Grand Slam women’s doubles title as a team, and their second of the year. Krejcikova and Siniakova have already won the Australian Open title this year, beating Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia in the final.