Australia's Sanders and Peers win US Open mixed doubles title

Australia’s Sanders and Peers win US Open mixed doubles title

NEW YORK – Storm Sanders and John Peers defeated Kirsten Flipkens and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7, to win the US Open mixed doubles title on Saturday. Sanders and Peers are the first Australian team to win a Grand Slam mixed doubles title since Jarmila Wolfe and Matt Ebden at the 2013 Australian Open. They are also the first Australian duo in 21 years to win the US Open mixed doubles title.

“I think we played really well,” Sanders said. “Even at the start we had some opportunities on their service games early on, but couldn’t quite get the break. I felt like we were playing well enough to even win the first set. Got broken on my serve. Super close, could have gone either way.

“I’m super proud we backed ourselves and just played our game. We just kind of hung around, tried to enjoy the moment, too.”

Sanders and Peers won the title in their first major appearance together as a team. Peers, 34, was into his first Grand Slam mixed doubles final in his 32nd Grand Slam mixed appearance. Neither player had ever progressed past the semifinal stage before New York. Sanders’ best mixed doubles result came at the 2021 Australian Open, where she reached the semifinals with Marc Polmans. Coming into the US Open, Peers was 0-4 in mixed semifinals before the duo bested Caty McNally and William Blumberg in the semifinals. His best mixed result came at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won bronze with Ashleigh Barty.

Unseeded in the tournament, the Belgian-French duo ousted two of the top four seeds en route to the final. Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin beat No.3 seeds Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arevalo in the first round and No.2 seeds Zhang Shuai and Mate Pavic in the semifinals. Flipkens, who announced her retirement from singles at Wimbledon, was playing her first Grand Slam final in any discipline.

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Sanders and Peers were the more aggressive team throughout the match, but their inability to convert one of the three break points they earned early in the opening set would spell their doom early. Playing a cleaner, more disciplined set, Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin broke in the seventh game for a 4-3 lead and closed out the opening set with ease.

The second set rolled along on serve until the Australians finally broke through. On their sixth break point of the match, Sanders and Peers earned their first break of the match to seal the second set 6-4 and force a match tie-break.

With the momentum in hand, Sanders and Peers played an aggressive, clean tiebreak to win 10-7. They finished the match with 45 winners to 11 unforced errors. Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin hit 23 winners to 5 unforced errors. Both teams were broken just once in the match, but the Australians were more successful in maintaining return pressure. They generated six break points in the match, while Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin earned two.

“To be honest, I still don’t think it’s really sunk in,” Sanders said. “Even before the match, I was just thinking it’s another match, doesn’t matter. Amazing opportunity and a great challenge to be playing on the biggest court in the world in a Grand Slam final. Obviously I lost my doubles semifinal yesterday in a close one. I had to kind of let that go and just really focus on today.”

Australia has enjoyed a strong Slam season in mixed doubles in 2022. Sanders and Peers were the third Australian duo to reach a mixed final this season, joining Jamiee Fourlis and Jason Kubler at the Australian Open and Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden at Wimbledon. Sanders, 28, has enjoyed a strong doubles season on the Hologic WTA Tour. in addition to the mixed doubles title, she also advanced to the doubles semifinal with Caroline Dolehide.

Sanders and Peers said they are committed to playing the Australian Open together.

“The biggest thing for me is just believing in my game,” Sanders said. “Kind of not just accepting that making second or third round is good. For me now I want to go deep, win titles on the WTA Tour, be a consistent Top 10 player in doubles.

“I love the tour life, playing tennis, the challenge. I’m going to just keep trying to go after my goals as much as possible.”

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