Doubles stars take centre stage at Australian Open 2023
World No.12 Storm Hunter is among 20 Aussie players competing in doubles at Australian Open 2023 today.
Six Australian players won Grand Slam doubles titles during 2022, triple that of any other nation.
Four of these major champions – Storm Hunter, John Peers, Matt Ebden and Max Purcell – are in action on day five at Australian Open 2023.
The 28-year-old Hunter, who claimed the US Open 2022 mixed doubles title alongside Peers and achieved a career-high ranking of world No.8 last year, believes this recent doubles success is inspiring all Aussie players to greater heights.
“We’re all pushing each other to do well and challenging each other to do better,” said world No.12 Sanders, who features in both women’s and mixed doubles matches today.
A total of 20 Australian players are chasing Grand Slam glory as the doubles competitions continue at Melbourne Park on day five.
Aussies in action:
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Guillermo Duran (ARG)/Philipp Oswald (AUT)
Men’s doubles, first round, John Cain Arena, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Purcell and Thompson teamed up for the first time during the Davis Cup Finals in November, winning a crucial rubber to steer Australia into a first final in 19 years. The Sydney-based athletes are reuniting this week and face world No.72 Duran and world No.69 Oswald in the opening round. The 24-year-old Purcell, ranked No.33, is a two-time Australian Open doubles finalist and the reigning Wimbledon champion.
 Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Ekaterina Alexandrova/Vivian Heisen (GER)
Women’s doubles, first round, Kia Arena, first match (from 11am AEDT)
This is the 27-year-old Perez’s eighth Australian Open campaign. The world No.20 and her American partner, world No.19 Melichar-Martinez, proved they are major contenders with a semifinal run at last year’s US Open. The ninth seeds also made four finals together in a strong finish to the season. They face world No.70 Alexandrova and world No.101 Heisen.
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Veronika Kudermetova/Liudmila Samsonova
Women’s doubles, first round, John Cain Arena, second match
Hunter, Australia’s top-ranked woman at world No.12, is teaming up with world No.5 Mertens. They have been handed a tough draw, meeting world No.3 Kudermetova and her new partner, Samsonova. Mertens and Kudermetova were one of the world’s best teams in 2022, winning the WTA Finals and reaching five finals together. This is 28-year-old Hunter’s 11th Australian Open doubles campaign.
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) v Federico Coria (ARG)/Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
Men’s doubles, first round, Kia Arena, second match
South Australians Bolt and Saville are proven doubles threats at Melbourne Park. The 30-year-old Bolt is a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, while 28-year-old Saville reached the AO 2020 final. Their Argentine opponents are better known for their singles exploits. The 30-year-old Coria is yet to win an AO doubles match, while 30-year-old Schwartzman owns a 1-6 win-loss doubles record at the tournament.
 Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Alexander Erler (AUT)/Lucas Miedler (AUT)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 3, second match
Ebden enjoyed a career-best run at Australian Open 2022, reaching the men’s doubles final. The 35-year-old from Perth, who is ranked No.24 and is the reigning Wimbledon champion, is teaming with world No.19 Bopanna, a 42-year-old Indian, this year. The No.10 seeds begin their campaign against Austrian duo world No.50 Erler and world No.54 Miedler.
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v  Alicja Rosolska (POL)/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 14, second match
The 25-year-old Inglis and 29-year-old Kubler are off-court partners and teaming up at the Australian Open for a second time. They lost in the opening round in 2019, so looking to better that effort when they play the experienced world No.32 Rosolska, a 37-year-old from Poland, and world No.6 Rojer, a 41-year-old from the Netherlands.
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)/Astra Sharma (AUS) v [Alt] Claire Liu (USA)/Sabrina Santamaria (USE)
Women’s doubles, first round, Court 7, third match (not before 3pm AEDT)
The 23-year-old Fourlis and 27-year-old Sharma are both former Australian Open mixed doubles finalists and now looking to emulate that success in the women’s doubles competition. Currently ranked No.303 and No.153 respectively, the Aussie wildcards were meant to face the No.15 seeds in the first round. However, alternates world No.403 Liu and world No.82 Santamaria have taken their place in the draw.
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)/Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR)/Gonzalo Escobar (ECU)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 14, third match
Birrell is making her second Australian Open mixed doubles appearance – and first since 2016. The 24-year-old from the Gold Coast is partnering Hijikata. The 21-year-old from Sydney is making his Grand Slam mixed doubles debut. They face world No.9 Kichenok, a 30-year-old Ukrainian, and world No.44 Escobar, a 33-year-old from Ecuador.
 Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN)/Max Purcell (AUS) v Zhaoxuan Yang (CHN)/Jan Zielinski (POL)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 17, third match
World No.33 Purcell, a 24-year-old from Sydney and a two-time Australian Open men’s doubles finalist, is partnering world No.7 Dabrowski, a 30-year-old Canadian and the AO 2018 mixed doubles champion, for the second time. The eighth-seeded combination begin their campaign against world No.10 Yang and world No.36 Zielinski.
[WC] John Millman (AUS)/Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v Benjamin Bonzi (FRA)/Arthur Rinderknech (FRA)
Men’s doubles, first round, 1573 Arena, fourth match
The 26-year-old Vukic is making his second appearance in a Grand Slam doubles draw. He is teaming with 33-year-old Millman, who is contesting his 10th Australian Open in doubles. The Aussie wildcards have been pitted against a French combination, 26-year-old Bonzi and 27-year-old Rinderknech.
[WC] Lizette Cabrera (AUS)/John-Patrick Smith (AUS) v Kimberley Zimmermann (BEL)/Tim Puetz (GER)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 3, fourth match
Townsville talents Cabrera and Smith are teaming up for the first time. This is 25-year-old Cabrera’s third appearance in an Australian Open mixed doubles draw and she is looking for a first win. The 33-year-old Smith is playing his ninth Australian Open and looking to better a runner-up finish in 2019. They face world No.39 Zimmermann and world No.18 Puetz in the opening round.
Storm Hunter (AUS)/John Peers (AUS) v  Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Neal Skupski (GBR)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 6, fourth match
This is a showdown between the two most recent Grand Slam-winning teams. World No.12 Hunter and world No.38 Peers won last year’s US Open title together, while world No.16 Krawczyk and world No.3 Skupski are the two-time reigning Wimbledon champions. This is the first time 28-year-old Hunter and 34-year-old Peers have teamed up at Melbourne Park.
[WC] Marc Polmans (AUS)/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [Alt] Facundo Bagnis (ARG)/Robert Galloway (USA)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 8, fourth match
This is the first time that 25-year-old Polmans and 23-year-old Popyrin have combined as a partnership. Both have enjoyed doubles success at Melbourne Park before, with Polmans’ best result a semifinal run in 2017 and Popyrin making the third round in 2019. The Aussie wildcards play alternates 32-year-old Bagnis and 30-year-old Galloway, who are looking for their first Australian Open wins.
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