Sanders and Peers reach US Open 2022 mixed doubles final
Storm Sanders and John Peers won a nail-biting semifinal at the US Open to advance to their first Grand Slam mixed doubles final.
Storm Sanders and John Peers won a nail-biting semifinal at the US Open today to advance to their first Grand Slam mixed doubles final.
The all-Aussie pairing beat American wildcards Caty McNally and William Blumberg 6-2 6-7(5) [10-8] to advance to their first Grand Slam mixed doubles final – both individually, and as a pair.
“Been knocking on the door quite a few times, got unlucky a few times,” said Peers, who had lost four times at the semifinal stage of a major mixed doubles tournament.
“To be able to make the final here with Storm is a lot of fun. Hopefully we’ve got one more push in us.”
He and Sanders are the third all-Australian pair to reach a Grand Slam mixed doubles final in 2022, after Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler at the Australian Open, and Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden at Wimbledon.
And it continues a brilliant US Open for Sanders, who on Saturday will also play for a place in the US Open women’s doubles final, alongside Caroline Dolehide.
“Definitely it was a really cool experience to have that. I’m trying not to think about that it’s a Grand Slam final; I’m just thinking that it’s one match at a time, and even today with the semifinal, it was just another challenge, another team that can play really well,” Sanders said.
“I’m trying to keep my emotions down, and I’ve still got work to do here. We’re obviously happy to be in the final, but we want to take the title home in the mixed.
“I’m feeling great; body feels good, I’m ready to go. I want to be here, playing on the weekend.”
Sanders and Peers will take on Belgian Kirsten Flipkens and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Saturday’s mixed final.
They started brilliantly at Louis Armstrong Stadium, combining crisply – despite this being their first ever tournament together – and breaking en route to a 4-1 lead, before another service break secured them the first set.
But it was a tighter affair in the second, with McNally and Blumberg scoring their first break of the match thanks to a Blumberg volley winner.
Sanders and Peers broke back immediately and the set remained tightly contested all the way to a tiebreak.
“We played a really clean first set and started off the second pretty well. Would’ve been nice to sneak out of Storm’s service game start of the second. And I think if we snuck through that game, we probably would have kept momentum,” Peers said.
“But with that scoring format, anything is possible, and we just kept digging deep and hanging around. We knew if we just kept staying positive, we’d get chances, and it was just a matter of if we took them.”
The Australians fell behind 0-4 but won five points in a row, and had a golden opportunity to arrive at match point – only for Sanders to send a volley into the net.
Having escaped, McNally and Blumberg played inspired tennis to arrive at set point, and converted when Peers found the net with his own volley.
And so the match went into another tiebreak, this time the 10-point match variety – which Sanders and Peers dominated early.
But their 4-0 lead soon evaporated when the Americans won eight of the next 10 points to take an 8-6 lead.
Impressively, Sanders and Peers did not panic, and won the next three consecutive points – the third on a McNally double fault.
Having finally arrived at their first match point, Peers stepped up to the line and delivered an unreturnable serve to send the Aussies into the title match.
“(The scoring format) It makes it easier to focus on just one point at a time, because you’ve got to stay on,” Sanders said.
“As quickly as it can change out of your favour, it can also swing into your favour.”
Added Peers: “I think we’ve just gotten to know each other’s game from the start. And it helps we’ve both shared a coach before, so we’ve got a good idea what each other needs to do.
“It’s just a matter of making each other feel comfortable out there. And I think so far we’ve done a pretty good job of that, and the challenge is now to keep that going for one more match here.”