‘Locked In’ Kyrgios/Kokkinakis Into Doubles QFs
“Honestly, I feel like the favourites out there on the doubles court”, said Kyrgios after he and Kokkinakis beat 15th seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the third round on Sunday afternoon. “The way he [Kokkinakis] is playing right now, he’s obviously very confident after the last month, which is amazing to see. I feel like we’re locked in, it’s probably the best doubles we’ve played together.”
The crowd-pleasing duo emphasised the impact of the fans on Kia Arena as they backed up their impressive second-round defeat of top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic against Uruguayan-Ecuadorian pairing Behar and Escobar.
“Having that crowd support, you’ve seen how much it helps,” said Kokkinakis. “It feels like a party atmosphere out there. When we enjoy ourselves, first and foremost, I think that brings the best focus out of us.”
The Aussies had won only one of four previous Australian Open matches together coming into this year’s tournament, but they slammed 38 winners, including 23 aces, on Kia Arena to reach the quarter-finals of their home slam for the first time.
“Another win at the Australian Open, you’re not going to take that for granted,” added Kyrgios. “I definitely think we’ve got a good shot at winning this.”
Another Australian, John Peers, partnered Slovak Filip Polasek to a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 victory over German 12th seeds Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies. Peers and Polasek, the fifth seeds and US Open semi-finalists who won the Sydney Tennis Classic leading in, won 50% (24/48) of return points as they never allowed the German pairing to settle.
Their quarter-final opponents will be third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who also enjoyed a straight-sets win over Spanish pairing Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez. Spaniard Granollers and Argentine Zeballos won 85% (39/46) of points behind first serves and outhit their opponents by 32 winners to 17 as they advanced to a first Australian Open quarter-final together with a 7-5, 7-5 victory.
Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini claimed another upset after beating eighth seeds and 2016 Australian Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-3. Sydney runners-up Bolelli and Fognini hit just 20 winners to their opponent’s 32 but saved the best until last as they broke twice in the third set to back up their impressive second-round win over ninth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo.