Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis advance to the Australian Open doubles quarterfinals, defeating 15th seed Gonzalo Escobar and Ariel Behar 6-4 4-6 6-4.
The talented Aussie couple needed three sets to prevail and come just two days after stunning top seeds Mate Pevic and Nikola Metkic.
Once again, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis drew a sell-out crowd to the Kia Arena, which electrified throughout the game.
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The pair got off to an ideal start, winning the opening set 6-4 after breaking their opponents in game five after a masterclass from both sides with early serves.
“Both teams do their serve so well, especially the first serve,” said Jelena Dokic in the comment Kanal NOthers.
“It is very difficult to go back there. Incredibly fast conditions.”
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis netted nine aces in the opening set compared to just one of their rivals, and won 91 percent of the points on the first serve.
The Australian friends also have 26 winners to 12 from Escobar and Behar.
Kokkinakis was the more impressive early serve, with Dokic hinting that Kyrgios might be struggling with some nerves, saying: “I think he doesn’t clear sometimes and looks a bit under pressure.”
A similar effort follows in their last doubles game against the Croatian pair, where the duo hit 17 aces and won 82 percent of the points on first serve.
There is no vacancy in the Show Court arena as the crowd flocks to see the Aussies.
“It was goosebumps, there are goosebumps,” one of the commentators said of the atmosphere after Kyrgios and Kokkinakis won the first set.
While they looked safe early in the second set, things fell apart when Kyrgios’ serve was broken, allowing Behar and Escobar to get back in the game as they took a 4-1 lead.
Kyrgios suffered a code breach in the following game after flicking a ball into the stands, with Dokic calling on Kokkinakis to bring his partner back to earth.
“He’s the one who might have to pull Nick up,” she said.
“He’s the one that dominates but you get the feeling he has that kind of energy, he just needs to help Nick a little bit.”
A solid 2-4 game gave them two break points, but they only needed one after a costly double fault at the other end.
It would all prove to be for naught, however, as Behar and Escobar broke serve again to take the second set 6-4.
Kyrgios angrily threw his racquet to the ground early in the set, having already suffered a time-out and Dokic said Kyrgios “has to be careful” or risk an ugly incident.
Also worrying for Kyrgios was a leg ailment, which saw the 26-year-old require treatment during a change of ends and appeared to slightly favor his opposite leg early in the third set.
However, he and Kokkinakis would get a second burst of energy, falling into a hold and breaking before Kyrgios held to cement himself at 4-2 as the crowd reached a new level.
The pair didn’t let up from there, with Kyrgios holding the last game at love to win the third set 6-4.
“They backed up a great win with another great win,” said Wally Masur at the beginning of the interview on the pitch, “it’s not easy to tell these established doubles teams apart.”
Kyrgios replied, “I mean, it was pretty easy,” before bursting out laughing as the crowd joined in.
While the duo provided plenty of entertainment on the pitch, one can only talk about the drama.
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Kyrgios claimed on Saturday a coach and trainers linked to their Croatian doubles opponents threatened to fight him after the top seeds have been bundled.
“I was just letting you know after yesterday’s doubles chop fest that my opponent’s coach and trainer threatened to fight at the players’ gym,” he said on Twitter.
“Tennis is a soft, soft sport @TKokkinakis just because I was moving and hitting her with a tennis ball.” Kokkinakis replied, “That was crazy!! Mans thought it was @ufc.”
Pavic reportedly suggested the crowd “show some respect” after the game, echoed by Daniil Medvedev, the world singles number two, who blew up fans’ “low IQ” after his win over Kyrgios on Thursday night.
“It’s noisy. They’re pretty loud. Obviously they’re cheering for the Aussies. It wouldn’t hurt them to show respect to all opponents and other players,” Pavic allegedly said.
“Yesterday we saw what it was like with Medvedev. So yeah, I mean, that’s how they are here. We’re used to that. But like I said, yes, it wouldn’t hurt them to show some respect.”
Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley was asked how he would handle the claims on Sunday morning but oddly didn’t seem overly concerned.
“There was a lot of passion and a lot of energy in the stadium and I think that carried over into the stadium,” Tiley said weekend today.
“I’ve spoken to Nick and the team and it’s not unusual.
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“It’s not unusual … when you have a situation like this and players are being beaten and they’re expected to win the game and there’s so much passion from the fans.”
Presenter Charles Croucher found it odd that Tiley downplayed what, on the face of it, were quite serious allegations made by Kyrgios.
“Don’t doubt the passion, but do you think it’s not uncommon for a coach to threaten a player after a game?” Croucher asked.
Tiley then clarified that he would “look closely at” the claims, adding, “What’s not unusual and not uncommon is the passion, but certainly there are rules and conditions to how you react at the end of the game.” “
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