Cincinnati, USA , 19 August 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Ellen Perez and American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez have created history at Cincinnati, becoming the first team to reach back-to-back women’s doubles finals at the tournament in the Open era.

The third seeds secured their spot in this year’s championship match with a come-from-behind 2-6 6-4 [10-5] semifinal victory against Chinese Taipei’s Chan Hao-Ching and Mexico’s Guiliana Olmos.

With this victory, 27-year-old Perez joins Evonne Goolagong Cawley as the only Australian to reach consecutive women’s doubles finals in Cincinnati. Goolagong Cawley won the 1972 title with Margaret Court, then was a finalist in 1973 with Janet Young.

After recording a runner-up finish in 2022, world No.12 Perez and world No.11 Melichar-Martinez now have the chance to win their first WTA 1000 title together.

They’ll play American duo Alycia Parks and Taylor Townsend for the prestigious title.

Parks and Townsend eliminated the No.2 seeds, Australia’s Storm Hunter and her Belgian partner Elise Mertens, in the semifinals.

In the men’s singles competition, the history-making runs of Max Purcell and Alexei Popyrin ended in this quarterfinals.

This marked the first time in 21 years that two Australian men had advanced to the singles quarterfinals at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

Purcell put up an impressive fight against world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, taking the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion to three sets.

Alcaraz eventually prevailed 4-6 6-3 6-4 against the Aussie qualifier in a two-hour and 11-minute battle.

The aggressive style of net-rushing world No.70 Purcell rattled the top-seeded Alcaraz early in the match, forcing the 20-year-old Spaniard to dig deep to gain control.

Popyrin’s career-best run at ATP Masters 1000 level also came to an end, bowing out against world No.20 Hubert Hurkacz.

The 26-year-old from Poland powered to a 6-1 7-6(8) victory in their quarterfinal showdown, conceding a total of nine points on serve in the 77-minute encounter.

A gallant Popyrin, who entered the draw as a lucky loser, almost extended the match to three sets with a late charge.

The 24-year-old Australian fought back from a 1-6 deficit in the second-set tiebreak, saving five match points. A sixth consecutive point earned world No.58 Popyrin a set point, but he wasn’t unable to convert.

Hurkacz eventually triumphed on his seventh match point in a thrilling 18-point tiebreak.

Aussies in action – Cincinnati

Men’s singles, quarterfinals
[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) d [Q] Max Purcell (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d [LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-1 7-6(8)

Men’s doubles, quarterfinals
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)/Andres Molteni (ARG) d John Peers (AUS)/Nikola Mektic (CRO) 6-4 6-4

Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/Luisa Stefani (BRA) 6-2 6-1

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d [7] Chan Hao-Ching (TPE)/Giuliana Olmos (MEX) 2-6 6-4 [10-5]
Alycia Parks (USA)/Taylor Townsend (USA) d [2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-4 6-2

Women’s doubles, final
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)
/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Alycia Parks (USA)/Taylor Townsend (USA)

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