New Woodies chasing stunning 23-year Australian first

Wildcards Max Purcell and Luke Saville are within one victory of becoming the first all-Australian pairing in 23 years to lift the Australian Open men's doubles trophy.

The local duo hung tough to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 6-4 in the semis on Thursday, setting up a title decider against the American-British pairing of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

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Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge are the most recent all-Australian pairing to win the men's doubles at Melbourne Park back in 1997 - and also the most recent to make the final, in 1998.

The final appearance shapes as a career-changing windfall for Purcell, who earlier earned $90,000 for advancing through qualifying to make his grand slam debut where he lost in the opening round to rising Italian star Jannik Sinner.

Max Purcell and Luke Saville celebrate after winning match point in their Men's Doubles Semifinals match against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek at the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Before the tournament, the 21-year-old Purcell's career winnings stood at $293,629 - a figure he could more than double on Sunday.

Purcell and Saville will split $760,000 if they win the final, or $380,000 if they are runners-up - money that would allow Purcell to keep coach Nathan Healey with him more often than not.

"(Healey's) obviously got a family and kids and a business to run at home but as long as he can handle that, I'm going to try and get him on the road as much as possible, which is good," Purcell said.

"I feel like he really brings my game levels up each week I'm with him, so as long as I keep investing in myself and using him, I feel like money isn't as much of an issue."

Huge prize money

Saville said the prize money could make a huge difference to the pair's careers.

"It helps out a lot. It's expensive to travel, like Maxy said, he's hired a coach and I'm trying to bring a coach and fitness trainer where I can as well," Saville said.

"So that's not cheap, especially flights and accommodation and whatnot.

"So this is obviously an enormous pay day for us and we're going to put it all back into our tennis."

Ram and Salisbury, the No.11 seeds, downed Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6 6-3 6-4.