Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens have moved into the Australian Open doubles final with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs. Though far more well known for their singles prowess, Sabalenka and Mertens have become one of the best doubles teams in the world, very quickly.
Here's a look at what they've achieved as they seek to win their second Grand Slam title together on Friday in Melbourne.
Since teaming up at the 2019 Australian Open, Sabalenka and Mertens have played almost exclusively with each other. They'd lose in the round of 16 to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, the same team they'll face in the 2021 final.
The Belarusian and Belgium picked up momentum that spring and won Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back, launching themselves onto the radar as the team to beat in 2019.
They tasted Grand Slam success with a semifinal run in Paris, and then went all the way in New York, with the loss of just one set. It marked the first major title for either of them.
After reaching the final in Wuhan, the duo didn't get out of the group stage at the WTA Finals and then didn't win another title until Ostrava in October of 2020. Their results have been enough to get Sabalenka up to No. 5 and Mertens to No. 6.
Sabalenka and Mertens are heavy favorites in any draw they enter, but they still have to juggle thriving singles careers. Sabalenka is ranked No. 7 in singles, and fell in the Australian Open fourth round to Serena Williams. World No. 16 Mertens also lost in the fourth round, to Karolina Muchova.