Australian fans are in for a massive treat, as the men’s doubles final in the season’s first Grand Slam will be an all-Australian affair. It was made possible thanks to semi-final victories from Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. On Thursday, the unseeded finalists upset the third and second seeds, respectively, in the Australian Open. In front of a packed Rod Laver Arena, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis defeated Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers 7-6, 6-4. Simultaneously on Margaret Court Arena, their compatriots upset 2020 champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-3, 7-6.
In the Rod Laver Arena, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis made it a memorable time for the packed crowd, as they produced a stunning victory, which was an action-packed affair. “I’ve played a lot of singles matches around the globe with amazing atmospheres,” Kyrgios reflected in the on-court interview. “This week with Thanasi, playing in front of you, nothing beats this. This is insane.”
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In the first set, there were no break points and had just one deuce. With nothing to separate, the match headed into a tie-break. The home favourites survived the tie-break to go 1-0 up. In front of an electric crowd, the Aussies won the first seven points of the second set. As a result, they created a 0/40 opening on the Granollers serve. However, the third seeds fought back impressively to get back to deuce. But back-to-back Kokkinakis winners produced the match’s first break of serve.
The third seeds did not give up, as they came back from 4-1 to 4-4. However, Granollers was broken again. There was no coming back this time, as the home favourites ran away with the set.
“When we come out here, it’s all about the crowd, the atmosphere,” Kokkinakis added. “That gets us going. We worry about the tennis second. Playing in front of you guys brings the best out of us, honestly. I don’t know if we’d have this result anywhere else. It’s sick.”
The semifinal at the Margaret Court Arena between Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell, and Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury was a rematch of the 2021 US Open quarter-finals. Then, Ram and Salisbury saved four match points and advanced by the slimmest possible margin, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. But on Thursday, Ebden and Purcell got their revenge.
“I didn’t sleep that well the next couple weeks after that, so I’m just glad we got our revenge,” Ebden said post-match. “We thought, ‘It’s our home Slam, our court. We’re Australians.’ And the crowd made a difference yesterday and today… To go through to the finals here is a dream.”