Sports, Tennis

Hsieh, the second-oldest to win a Grand Slam doubles

Published : 28 Jan 2024 09:14 PM | Updated : 28 Jan 2024 09:14 PM

Hseih Su-wei of  Taiwan has become the second-oldest woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title after teaming with Elise Mertens of Belgium Sunday to win the Australian Open women’s doubles.

The second-seeded pairing of Hseih and Mertens beat 11th seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5 in Sunday’s final. It was Hseih’s seventh Grand Slam women’s doubles title and Mertens’ fourth, their second together.

Hsieh follows Rohan Bopanna of India who became the oldest men’s champion when he won the men’s doubles title Saturday with Matthew Ebden of Australia. 

American Lisa Raymond was eight days older than Hseih when she won the 2011 U.S. Open women’s doubles.

 Martina Navratilova was 49 when she won the mixed doubles at the 2006 U.S. Open with Bob Bryan. 

Hseih has the benefit of being coached by Australian Paul McNamee who won six Grand Slam doubles titles, including two Australian Opens and was the Australian Open chief executive until 2006. She already had taken out the mixed doubles at the current tournament with Jan Zielinski of Poland.

Mertens won the Wimbledon title with Hseih in 2021 and won the Australian Open title the same year with Aryna Sabalenka, who won her second straight singles title in Melbourne on Saturday. She also won the U.S. Open women’s doubles in 2019.

Mertens will return to the No. 1 WTA doubles ranking on Monday, a position she first held in May, 2021. She has spent 28 weeks in the top ranking spot.

Hseih and Mertens needed only 1 hour, 33 minutes on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday to pad their already impressive Grand Slam resumes. They took the first set in just over half and hour. The second set was much tighter as Mertens lost her serve in the opening game. She recovered to serve for the championship at 5-3 but was broken again.

Finally, Hseih and Mertens took the match when they broke Kichenok in the 12th game. Mertens leapt into the air in delight; Hseih was more reserved.

They make a formidable combination, Mertens with the stronger serve, Hseih with skillful touches around the net and flat, strong ground-strokes.

“It was a tough final,” Mertens said. “The second set was really close.

“It was a really great match for us and we had to stay focused all the time.”

Ostapenko and Kichenok faced a tough road to the final, beating the U.S. Open champions Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals.

They lacked communication and teamwork in the first set but worked better together in the second in which Ostapenko’s serve was dependable. Kichenok lost her serve in the fourth, eight and final games.

Kichenok ended her comments at the presentation ceremony with the words ‘Slava Ukraini, Glory to Ukraine’.