Wimbledon: Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk retain mixed doubles title


Venue: All England Club Dates: June 27-July 10
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Britain’s Neal Skupski and American Desirae Krawczyk retained their Wimbledon mixed doubles title with a straight-set victory over Australian duo Matthew Ebden and Sam Stosur.

Skupski and Krawczyk edged a tight opening set before dominating the second to win 6-4 6-3 on Center Court.

They are the first pair to defend the title since Czech brother and sister Cyril Suk and Helena Sukova in 1997.

They beat Britons Harriet Dart and Joe Salisbury in 2021’s final.

“It’s incredible,” said Skupski, 32, after claiming his second Grand Slam doubles title. “It’s especially nice that my parents are here. They weren’t able to come last year.

“I got a late call from Des to play, so it’s only been a team for two weeks but we’ll have to go for three next year – if she plays with me.”

Earlier, Ebden and fellow Australian Max Purcell played a five-set epic in the men’s doubles semi-finals to beat Britain’s Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram.

The mixed doubles final has traditionally closed out the tournament on a Sunday evening but was moved forward three days for this year’s edition.

It is unlikely the schedulers thought the switch would cause one player to spend almost six hours on court in a single day but that is how things panned out for Ebden.

After playing for four hours and 20 minutes in the men’s doubles semi, he was granted a 90-minute rest before taking to Center Court for the mixed final at 19:00 BST.

A gruelling 17-minute game in the opening set did not help Ebden’s cause, especially as Skupski and Krawczyk survived two break points and 10 deuces to hold serve.

By contrast, Ebden and Stosur, the 2011 US Open women’s singles champion, held to love three times, only to be broken at 5-4 down as the second seeds picked the perfect time to strike.

Both pairs traded breaks in the second set before an Ebden foot fault contributed to a break to love that proved crucial as Skupski and Krawczyk served the match out.

High-quality match ends in agonizing defeat for Salisbury & Ram

Joe Salisbury (right) and Rajeev Ram have now lost three Wimbledon semi-finals

Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram failed to convert five match points as they missed out on a first Wimbledon men’s doubles final.

The top seeds had been dominant until Australians Ebden and Max Purcell staged a last-gasp fightback to win 3-6 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 6-2.

Salisbury and Ram had been chasing a third Grand Slam title together and were dominant on their way to taking the opening two sets.

After recovering from a break down in the third to level for 4-4 they were just two games away from victory.

The Briton was taken to deuce eight times in a marathon service game that took almost 15 minutes and they fended off four break points to hold and edge even closer to victory in what was a high quality encounter.

But the Australians forced a tie-break and got an early mini-break before being pegged back as Salisbury and Ram set up a series of five match points.

Some on a packed Court One could hardly bear to watch as they came and went, with a Salisbury double fault, a video challenge that showed a shot was out and a lucky rebound off Purcell’s racquet frame scuppering their chances.

Ram netted a powerful Ebden return to send it to a fourth set, where the Australians built on their momentum and broke in the 10th game to set up a decider.

Salisbury and Ram fell a break behind early in the fifth, and despite having a couple of break-back chances – including one in a thrilling 19-shot rally that featured nearly every type of hit in the book – they could not find a way back .

The Briton went long on the Australians’ second match point, triggering wild chest bumps and jumps from the 14th seeds, who had 90 minutes earlier been on the brink of a straight-set defeat.

For Salisbury and Ram, it was an agonizing third Wimbledon semi-final defeat in five years.

“We couldn’t have been really any closer to being in the final and we both just screwed it up and couldn’t get over the line,” Salisbury said.

“It’s tough. We played some bad points the rest of the match but obviously we played two bad ones on match point.

“Obviously there’s pressure, you’re serving to get into the final. There’s extra nerves at that moment but you’ve still got to do better than that.”

In the other men’s doubles semi-final, defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic prevailed in a fifth-set tie-break against Colombian pair Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

Croat second seeds Mektic and Pavic won 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-0) 4-6 6-2 7-6 (10-4) after four hours and 22 minutes against the sixth seeds to set up a final meeting with Ebden and Purcell.

Midway through the epic contest, Pavic accidentally cut team-mate Mektic’s lip with his racquet as both players went for a ball during a point in the third set.

It led Mektic to take a selfie of his injury to the amusement of the crowd – with opponent Farah even running over to join him and Pavic for a picture in a moment of light relief on Court One.


www.bbc.com

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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