Two in a row: Bopanna and Ebden advance to consecutive Grand Slam men's doubles finals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Veteran Indian player Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden have advanced to their second consecutive Grand Slam men’s doubles final.

The 43-year-old Bopanna and 36-year-old Ebden beat Zhang Zhizhen of China and Tomas Machac of Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) in an Australian Open semifinal Thursday on Rod Laver Arena.

Bopanna and Ebden, now ranked second in men’s doubles, lost to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the U.S. Open final last September. Tournament officials said Thursday that Ebden and Bopanna, at combined ages of 79 years, will become the oldest No. 1 pairing in tennis history at the end of the tournament.

They were cruising at 4-1 up in the third set before the Zhang and Machac forced it to a match tiebreaker.

“What an epic third set,” Ebden said. “I’ve just got to hand it to my partner. We’ve been fighting since round one; a lot of tough moments, fighting through one-by-one.”

In Saturday’s final, Bopanna and Ebden will play the Italian pair of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori, who beat Yannick Hanfmann and Dominik Koepfer of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in a later semifinal.

In the first women’s doubles semifinal, Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium, the No. 2-seeded team, beat third-seeded Storm Hunter of Australia and Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. The other women’s doubles semifinal will be played Friday ahead of Sunday’s final.

The women’s singles semifinals were set for Thursday night, with U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff playing defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, followed by Daryna Yastremska against Zheng Qinwen. The winners will play in the final on Saturday.

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