Tennis: Mladenovic and Dodig cruise to Australian Open mixed doubles title

Ivan Dodig (left) and Kristina Mladenovic with the trophy after the mixed doubles final in Melbourne on Jan 28, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - France's Kristina Mladenovic and Croatian Ivan Dodig swept to a 6-3, 6-4 victory against local duo Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler to claim the Australian Open mixed doubles crown at Melbourne Park on Friday (Jan 28).

Playing under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena due to rain, Mladenovic and Dodig got off to a solid start, securing a vital break at 4-3 before closing out the set after some big serving from the Frenchwoman.

The Australian wildcard pairing were broken again early in the second set as Dodig's exquisite play at the net proved too good for Fourlis on serve.

The 22-year-old, however, made amends right away and forced Dodig into an error to get the break back and level at 2-2.

Momentum swung back quickly to Mladenovic and Dodig, however, and they secured another break before a fine angled volley from Mladenovic gave the fifth-seeded pair their first Grand Slam title together.

It was a third Grand Slam mixed doubles title for Mladenovic, while Dodig now has four.

"We texted each other many times to play mixed. What a way to end our first time playing together," said Mladenovic, who last won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open with Daniel Nestor in 2014.

"I didn't play mixed for a long time. To partner with Ivan... he's an amazing singles player, in my opinion. Now he's showing his skills all around the court in doubles."

Dodig, who partnered Filip Polasek to clinch the men's doubles last year, said their styles suited each other.

"I had the experience of playing with a couple of different partners. (Kristina) is playing very good from deuce, very good forehand. A little bit easier for me to adapt to her game. I think we are just a great match together," said the 37-year-old.

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