Melbourne, Australia, 26 January 2022 | Vivienne Christie

John Peers’ winning run with Zhang Shuai in the AO 2022 mixed doubles has ended in the semifinals.

Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig proved too tough today at Margaret Court Arena, with the French-Croatian duo claiming a steely come-from-behind win.

The high-stakes match appeared to be heading to a far different outcome when Peers and Zhang combined superbly to claim a 25-minute first set.

The Australian-Chinese duo were seemingly growing in confidence as they steadily held their own service games and secured a break on the Mladenovic serve to lead 3-1.

With another break against the big-hitting Dodig, they extended that advantage to 5-1. Comfortable alongside her experienced partner, Zhang calmly served out the set.

But Mladenovic and Dodig are highly accomplished in Grand Slam mixed doubles, with the Frenchwoman a winner of two titles with Canadian Nestor, including Australian Open 2014.

Dodig is a two-time Roland Garros champion and triumphed at Wimbledon, with all three victories in the 2018 and 2019 seasons secured alongside Chinese Taipei’s Latisha Chan.

They drew on that experience superbly as they steadied in the second set.

In a tense contest, games regained on serve until Zhang lapsed in the 12th game, allowing Mladenovic and Dodig to secure the set.

The challenge for Zhang and Peers to regain momentum intensified as rain interrupted ahead of the match tiebreak.

On resumption of play under a closed Margaret Court Arena roof, Mladenovic and Dodig soon built a 9-2 advantage.

With seven match points in hand they needed just one, their aggressive groundstrokes forcing Zhang into error to secure the hard-fought win.

Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler are still in AO 2022 mixed doubles action, with the Australian wildcards scheduled to contest their semifinal with Czech Lucie Hradecka and Ecuador’s Gonzalo Escobar later tonight.

Australian Open 2022

TODAY’S RESULTS
Men’s doubles, quarterfinals
Matt Ebden (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) d [10] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Neal Skupski (GBR) 3-6 6-4 7-6(6)

Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
[1] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d [9] Storm Sanders (AUS)/Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-2 7-6(3)

Mixed doubles, semifinals
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) d Lucie Hradecka (CZE)/Gonzalo Escobar (ECU) 2-6, 7-6(2) [10-6]
[5] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)/Ivan Dodig (FRA) d [2] Zhang Shuai (CHN)/John Peers (AUS) 1-6 7-5 [10-2]

COMING UP
Men’s doubles, semifinals
Matt Ebden (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) v [2] Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR)
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)/Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v [3] Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Horacio Zeballos (ARG)

Mixed doubles, final
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v [5] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)/Ivan Dodig (FRA)