Rohan Bopanna-Sania Mirza vs Rafael Matos-Luisa Stefani: Preview and Prediction
The first grand slam tournament of the year 2023 comes to its final phase as all categories are left with very few surviving contenders. The stage is set for the finals of the Mixed Doubles event of the Australian Open to go down the wire where two surviving pairs will be battling out each other for the prestigious trophy.
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza will be competing against Rafael Matos – Luisa Stefani in the grand slam final clash at Rod Laver Arena of Melbourne City this stunning Saturday.
The queen of Indian Tennis, Sania Mirza, has already confirmed that this will be her last dance and will leave no stone unturned to make it a memorable one. Saniya will be partnered by the 42-year-old Indian starlet Rohan Bopanna who is also counting the last days of his professional Lawn Tennis career. The two veterans are the last superstars of India’s golden generation and have a golden opportunity to add another feather to their glorious careers.
The Women’s Doubles Olympics gold medalist of 2020, Luisa Stefani was supposed to participate in the same category however, a last-minute decision landed her in partnership with Rafael Matos. The 27-year-old tennis star Matos is a rising talent from the Brazilian ranks and is on verge of winning his professional career’s maiden major title.
What have they done so far?
The Indian pair which participated in major events like the Rio Olympics, French Open, and Wimbledon got reunited to probably take up the last grand slam challenge of their careers. They missed out on the Olympic bronze medal from the shortest distance after ending up on the losing side of the third-place fixture.
The Olympic prowess was followed by a Round of 16 campaign of Wimbledon which also marked their last appearance before turning up for this tournament. They kick-started the AO campaign with thumping victories in the first two rounds on a whitewashing scoreline of 2-0.
The quarter-final round could not take place as they received a walkover after Jelena Odtapenko refused to continue owing to her Singles exit against the reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Sania and Bopanna did not lose a single set until the semi-final round where the British-American duo of Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk staged a comeback in the second set but eventually lost the penultimate fixture by 1-2.
For the consecutive Australian Open editions, Brazilians will be rooting for their countrymen in the Grand Finale as Beatriz Haddad Maia also made it to the finals of Women’s Doubles previously.
The Brazuca pair has not lost a single Mixed Doubles game since their formation at the United Cup in December 2022. They won both of their Mixed Doubles ties in group stages against Italy and Norway however, it still wasn’t enough for Brazil to earn the ticket to the knockout round.
Stefani and Matos ruled the bottom-half draw of the Mixed Doubles event by thrashing their first three opponents in a one-sided manner. They were summoned by Marc Polmans and Olivia Gadecki in a nail-biting semi-final clash where they somehow managed to edge past the Australian wild-card pair. Despite losing the opening set, the Brazucas staged a quick turnaround to win the following set by 6-4 and 11-9 in a tie-breaker to seal the final ticket.
Both of the combatants are thriving on an unbeaten run in this competition and one of them is going to suffer a defeat for the first time. Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos have a golden opportunity to extend their triumphant run for another game and create history by becoming the first Brazilian Mixed Doubles duo to conquer a Grand Slam tournament.
However, the winning odds favor the Indian pair which has a vast experience of excelling on such grand stages over the years.