Mclachlan/Struff Stun Top Seeds
Japan’s Ben Mclachlan and Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff caused a huge upset to defeat World No.1 team Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(5) to reach the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
The team, playing together for the first time, edged the top seeds in the two-hour, 51-minute contest, hitting 41 winners to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Mclachlan and Struff will meet the winners of Wednesday’s quarter-final as Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot face seventh seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic for a place in Saturday’s final.
The Japanese-German duo got off to a flying start, breaking Kubot and Melo to love in the opening game of the match and, after trading breaks late in the set, served out the set in the same fashion.
Sydney International champions, Kubot and Melo missed out on the opportunity to level the match at 5-4 in the second set as they failed to convert a single break point. But, hoping to keep their undefeated start to 2018 intact, they eventually took the match into a deciding set on their second set point at 6/4 in the tie-break.
Kubot and Melo created two break point opportunities to serve for the match at 4-4 in the decider, but Mclachlan and Struff held their ground to hold and force a final set tie-break. The unseeded duo held three consecutive match points at 6/3 and, after watching their opponents save the first two on serve, booked their place in the final four at the third time of asking. It was Kubot and Melo's first defeat since the championship match of the Nitto ATP Finals in November 2017.
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan remained on course for a seventh Australian Open title with their first two-set win of the tournament to beat Marcin Matkowski and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-1 6-4 to move into the semi-finals.
The sixth seeds had to fight from a set down in each of their previous three matches to reach the quarter-finals but quickly found themselves 5-0 up on Rod Laver Arena. Despite missing a break point for a bagel first set, the American twins sealed a one-set advantage in the following game. The Bryans won 69 per cent of points on their second serve return to move a set away from the quarter-finals.
A series of three games in the second set would prove the key. Matkowski and Qureshi failed to convert two break points in the fourth game of the set and were subsequently broken in the very next game. An opportunity to immediately get back on serve in the sixth game also presented itself, but once again the Bryans saved two break points to lead by a set and 4-2.
From there, the 114-time tour-level title-winning team comfortably secured the win and will take on the winners of Wednesday’s quarter-final as Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah look to end the dream run of Aussie duo Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt.