It often takes time for new doubles combinations to gel and feel comfortable together on court, but Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden are having no such issues.
Playing together for a first time, the Australian duo have progressed to the Australian Open 2021 mixed doubles semifinals without losing a set.
“We know we’re both accomplished players in singles, doubles, mixed doubles, had a lot of experience,” Ebden notes. “We know what we’re doing out there. Now we know how to do it together. So far, so good. One by one.”
This is the fourth time in 36-year-old Stosur’s career she has reached an Australian Open mixed doubles semifinal, having also advanced to this stage in 2005, 2006 and 2017.
Ebden is through to his third Australian Open mixed doubles semifinal, having also made the final four in 2013 and 2014.
Their doubles experience has been evident, as has their joy in competing after extended time off tour last season.
“We’re combining really well. We’re enjoying it. We’re having some fun,” says world No.33 Stosur.
It was 33-year-old Ebden who initiated their successful partnership.
“I probably asked Sam first, back maybe last month,” Ebden explains. “A couple of weeks ago she came back and said, ‘Yeah, do you want to play?’ I said, ‘Yeah, still looking for a partner. Yes, I’d love to play.’ And here we are.”
The wildcard pairing are growing in confidence each match.
“We had a couple of practices even before our first match together, which was great, just to get on the court, get familiar with what we’re doing, what side we’re playing,” says Ebden, who has a doubles ranking of No.109.
[WC] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Sam Stosur (AUS) v Joe Salisbury (GBR)/Desirae Krawczyk (USA)
Mixed doubles, semifinals, Court 3, first match (3pm AEDT start)
World No.12 Salisbury has a busy day ahead, contesting both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles semifinals. The 28-year-old Brit, who won the Australian Open 2020 men’s doubles title with American Rajeev Ram, is enjoying a career-best run in a Grand Slam mixed doubles draw. So too is his partner, a 27-year-old American ranked No.25. Krawczyk feels at home in Melbourne, which is where her Australian tennis-playing partner Andrew Harris lives. As former Australian Open mixed doubles champions, the Aussie wildcards have an edge in experience in this match-up. Ebden won in 2013 with Jarmila Wolfe and Stosur claimed the 2005 title with Scott Draper.