Sunday, 27 January 2013

Aussie wild cards land the Mixed title

Two unseeded teams made it through to the final of the Mixed Doubles and Australia was represented which is always a bonus, especially this year with the singles disappointments of our players.  Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden certainly did not allow that individual let down interfere with the success of their doubles combination, knocking over the second seeds on the way.  The opposition today came from the Czech Republic represented by Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak.  Neither partnership had won a Grand Slam Mixed title before although Lucie had shared the 2011 Women's Doubles spoils at Roland Garros.

The first five games included all the nerves that one should expect from players fighting for a piece of Grand Slam silverware, and a break apiece contributed to a 3-2 lead for the Australians with the Cermak serve to come.

A series of errors from the Aussies helped the Czech Republic pair even the match at 3-3 before Gajdosova introduced some winning tennis with a quality off  forehand pass at the net and an ace to seal her serve and keep the lead but this time at 4-3.

The Australians grabbed the initiative assisted in a major way by some long Czech backhands and a double fault form Hradecka. 5-3 and serving for a one set advantage.

Two aces from Ebden made the job easier than might have been and with the first set won at 6-3, one giant step had been made towards the trophy by he and Jarmila.

Cermak served to open Set 2 and not at all convincingly began with a double fault.  Poor backhand returns, one from each Australian, who were sharing the poor shots well, put the advantage back with Frantisek, but Ebden's forehand lob winner set up a break point which Cermak celebrated with another double fault, ending the game the way he began it, and putting the Czech team a break down.

Ebden consolidated, interrupting the errors with an occasional ace and overhead winner to extend the lead to 2-0, placing great pressure on Lucie who was up next.
She responded well, throwing in an ace before locking away the game with a slashing cross court backhand winner.

Jarmila served and held strongly thanks to volley winners both back and forehand from Ebden, and an ace from Jarmila.  3-1 Australia.

A key game from the Cermak serve could have sealed the fate of the match as it reached deuce after an errant volley, but it was saved and the score was 2-3.
Similarly the next Ebden serve could have gone against serve after looking comfortable at 40-15.
In the end Australia survived from deuce to lead 4-2.

The games on the Hradecka and Gajdosova serves also went to deuce, Lucie benefitting from two Aussie errors to save a break point, but Jarmila suffering the brilliance of Lucie's backhand to lose her serve and games were 4-4.

The Czech team lifted and took the scoreboard lead in the set with Frantisek holding serve for 5-4.
Ebden finally put a stop to the bleeding, and the Australians drew level again at 5-5, errors from the opposition gladly accepted.

At 30-30 in the eleventh game Lucie double faulted, and when she netted on the following point, the match was suddenly in the hands of the Australian team, specifically on the racquet of Jarmila Gajdosova as she prepared to serve at 6-5.

Three successive errors made the task appear simple for Jarmila with 40-0.  However a slashing groundstroke from Cermak forcing a mistake from the Aussies then a double fault made 40-30 seem a whole lot tighter.  Thankfully when Jarmila had missed her first serve on the next point, her second serve ended with a shot hit long by the Czech team.

The Aussies had won 6-3 7-5 and began smiling for an indefinite period to come.

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