Mertens, Sabalenka combine for Australian Open doubles title

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) — Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka won the Australian Open women’s doubles final yesterday to collect their second Grand Slam trophy as a team.

It is likely to be their last for a while. Sabalenka, a Top 10 player with nine WTA singles titles, wants to focus on the singles at the majors but plans to combine with Mertens for some Premier-level doubles events.

The 22-year-old from Belarus was the dominant player on court as she and Mertens, the US Open doubles champions in 2019, combined for a 6-2, 6-3 win over third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.

Second-seeded Sabalenka and Mertens wasted three championship points in an eight-minute last game. Sabalenka earned a fourth championship point with an ace and clinched the title when Siniakova sent a backhand wide.

Mertens plans to keep playing doubles at the majors but Sabalenka is switching gears.

“I feel like it’s a little bit more stress (playing singles and doubles) in the Grand Slams. I just want to focus on singles and manage my energy,” Sabalenka said.

“Still when you go out for doubles, you’re still there for competing, to put everything you have — sometimes it’s not really working well with me.

Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka celebrate with their trophy after winning the Australian Open women’s doubles final. PHOTO: AP