Krajicek/Mahut Upset Former Miami Champs On Team Debut

Top seeds Koolhof/Skupski down AO champions Hijikata/Kubler
March 25, 2023
Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut battle past Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in a Match Tie-break Friday evening.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut battle past Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in a Match Tie-break Friday evening. By ATP Staff

Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut's team debut proved a memorable one on Friday evening.

The American-French duo upset 2021 champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-7 to reach the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau. They rallied from a mini-break down in the Match Tie-break and took advantage of a costly Pavic double fault.

Krajicek and Mahut will next play Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez, who eliminated Jaume Munar and Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 7-6(3). They are competing together this week because Krajicek's usual partner, Ivan Dodig, is out with an injury.

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At January’s Australian Open, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski won just four games in quarter-final defeat against eventual champions Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler.

On Friday in Miami, the joint-No. 1s in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings had their revenge. Koolhof and Skpuski raced to a 6-1, 6-2 victory against their Australian rivals to reach the second round.

The top seeds converted six of nine break points in a dominant 64-minute display to kick-start their bid for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 crown. Koolhof and Skupski opened an ultimately unassailable 4-0 leads in both sets of their win, bouncing back from the disappointment of their tchampionship-match defeat in Indian Wells six days ago.

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Koolhof and Skupski also suffered championship match disappointment in Miami a year ago, when they fell to Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner. The Dutch-British pair will continue its bid to banish those memories at Hard Rock Stadium this year with a second-round clash against Mackenzie McDonald and Botic van de Zandschulp or Marcelo Demoliner and Christopher Eubanks.

All-Dutch pairing Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop also cruised into the second round on Friday. The five-time tour-level titlists dispatched Sebastian Baez and Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3, 6-3 to claim their first Miami win as a team at the second attempt.


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