Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
The Australian Open men’s doubles final will be an all-Australian affair, following semi-final victories of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakisen Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. The unseeded finalists overturned the third and second seeded respectively in Melbourne on Thursday.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis rejoiced in a packed Rod Laver Arena by knocking Horace Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Their compatriots played at Margaret Court Arena at the same time, upsetting the 2020 AO champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-3, 7-6 (9).
In a charged atmosphere in Laver, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis — neither of whom had previously been past the third round in doubles at a Slam — delighted a crowded crowd with a victory full of substance and style.
“I’ve played a lot of singles matches around the world with great atmosphere,” Kyrgios reflected in the interview on the track. “This week with Thanasi, who is playing in front of you, nothing beats it. It’s insane. “
There were no break points and only one two in the opening set. A posh back-to-back sting from Granollers helped beat the second-seeded 40/0 of the Kyrgios offseason, but the Aussies held on tight.
A Kyrgios tweener shot back at set point at 6/4 in the draw, but a great service from the crowd favorite put down the hammer for the set.
With the atmosphere approaching fever high, the Aussies won the first seven points of the second stanza to create an 0/40 opening at the Granollers offseason. The third-seeded returned to two, but Kokkinakis rugby winners — one from each baseline wing — delivered the game’s first break of service.
The third-seeded climbed back from 4-1 to 4-4 in the set, but Granollers were broken again to concede the game. It was bedridden when a Kokkinakis top-spin lob fell in, with Kyrgios running to his partner and the pair falling to court in celebration.
“When we get out here, it’s all about the crowd, the atmosphere,” Kokkinakis added. “It gets us started. We worry about tennis second. Playing in front of you brings out the best in us, honestly. I do not know if we would have this result anywhere else. It’s sick. “
The duo went through the first, 15stesixth and third seeded on their way to the title round, while Ebden-Purcell rejected the fourth, 13th.ste10ste and second seeds.
The Margaret Court Arena competition was a rematch of the 2021 US Open quarterfinals, where eventual champions Ram and Salisbury saved four game points and advanced with the smallest possible margin, 7-6 (7), 6-7 (6), 7-6 (10).
“I did not sleep so well for the next few weeks after that, so I’m just glad we took revenge,” Ebden said after the game. “We thought: ‘This is our house Slam, our court. We are Australians. ‘ And the crowd made a difference yesterday and today … Going through to the finals here is a dream come true. ”
There were no interruptions of service in them US Open meeting, but Ebden-Purcell broke twice in the opening set on Thursday and took the third and ninth games on break point double errors from Ram, then Salisbury. There was no break for either side in the second, with all the drama saved for the draw.
After finishing just ahead of their compatriots in Laver, the Aussies saved four set points and secured a victory on their second match point in the 11-9 draw.
“It was a strange one to see that we broke them in the third game today,” Purcell added. “They definitely raised their level in the second set, but credit to us. We stayed there in the end. I helped Matty a little when I needed to, and he helped me when he had to, and we it came through. “
This is the 23-year-old Purcell’s second career major doubles final. He has reached the 2020 Australian Open final with Aussie Luke Saville, before losing to Ram and Salisbury. Ebden, 34, was no further than the quarterfinals in 29 previous men’s doubles major majors. He went all the way in mixed doubles, winning the 2013 AO title with his compatriot Jarmila Gajdosova and reaching the final in Australia last year.
The title match for the men’s doubles takes place on Saturday night in Melbourne, giving both teams a day off for their final preparations.