Neal Skupski falls short in bid for first grand slam title outside Wimbledon

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

Britain’s Neal Skupski missed out on a fourth grand slam title at the Australian Open.

The Liverpudlian reached the mixed doubles final with American Desirae Krawczyk but the pair, who won the Wimbledon title together in 2021 and 2022, lost out 6-7 (5) 6-4 11-9 to Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Su-wei and Pole Jan Zielinski.

Skupski, who won his first men’s doubles title at Wimbledon last summer alongside Wesley Koolhof, and Krawczyk won the first set on a tie-break and led 4-2 in the second but lost in a deciding tie-break having held one match point.

There was a 19th grand slam title together in wheelchair doubles for Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, who defeated Japanese duo Takuya Miki and Tokito Oda 6-3 6-2.

It is a fifth title in Melbourne in a row for the all-British duo, who were playing their second match of the day having won a rain-delayed semi-final earlier.

Reid said: “It’s not been easy, it never is easy to win any of them, because there is always strong teams that we’re coming up against. Obviously we’ve got a big target on our back as the guys who’ve been dominating recently.

“I think the numbers are sort of secondary to us. We enjoy them when we hear them afterwards, but for us really I think the key the last few years has been trying to push ourselves as a team, trying to progress the style of play that we bring to the court, and the way that we approach matches.”

Hewett will look to make it a double triumph when he takes on Oda in the singles final on Saturday.

There was also a 15th slam doubles title for Britain’s Andy Lapthorne in the quad division playing with American David Wagner, the pair beating South African Donald Ramphadi and Guy Sasson of Israel 6-4 3-6 (10/2).

Mingge Xu missed out on a place in the girls’ singles semi-finals, the Welsh player losing 6-4 6-3 to Bulgaria’s Iva Ivanova.

Xu and Hannah Klugman were also beaten in the semi-finals of the girls’ doubles, while Viktor Frydrych, playing with Czech Petr Brunclik, lost in the final of the boys’ doubles.

Related items

  • Sinner thrashes home favourite Gasquet to make French Open third round Sinner thrashes home favourite Gasquet to make French Open third round

    Jannik Sinner cruised into the French Open third round after making light work of home favourite Richard Gasquet in a straight-sets victory on Wednesday.

    The world number two overcame Christopher Eubanks in his first Roland-Garros meeting and had similar ease against French veteran Gasquet on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

    Having triumphed at the Australian Open in January, Sinner will be dreaming of a second major title after his convincing 6-4 6-2 6-4 success in the French capital.

    Buoyed on with confidence from a straight-sets win against Eubanks on Monday, Sinner stole a decisive break at 3-3 in the first set to undo 37-year-old Gasquet.

    Gasquet, a 16-time ATP Tour champion, struggled to respond after that opening blow, holding his service just twice in a one-sided second set.

    Sinner continued to dictate play from deep on the court, pulling Gasquet apart at will to tee up a routine win in just two hours and 17 minutes.

    Data Debrief: Sinner riding major wave

    Fresh from his major-winning exploits in Australia, Sinner is a remarkable 9-0 in grand slam competition this year.

    The 22-year-old extended to a 12-1 record against players ranked outside the top 10 at Roland-Garros, while he now has 26 wins and just one loss against Frenchmen since August 2020.

  • Swiatek blames wandering mind after ousting Osaka in French Open thriller Swiatek blames wandering mind after ousting Osaka in French Open thriller

    Iga Swiatek acknowledged her mind was not always in Wednesday's match as the world number one survived a French Open scare against Naomi Osaka.

    The three-time Roland-Garros champion appeared set for an early exit on Court Philippe-Chatrier after trailing 4-1 in the deciding set.

    Matters worsened for the Polish tennis star when Osaka mustered a 5-3 lead, but Japan's four-time major winner relinquished a match point with Swiatek on the ropes.

    The defending French Open champion responded in blistering style, eventually triumphing 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 7-5 to reach the third round unscathed.

    After a shock to the system and nearing an early exit, Swiatek said she struggled to focus at times in Paris.

    "For sure I felt for most of the match that I wasn't really here and now," Swiatek said.

    "My mind was flying around sometimes, but when I was really under the biggest pressure I was able to focus more and play better, not thinking about what the score is and that I was really close to losing.

    "I just kept going forward and I hope that my game is going to get better because of that."

    Aged 22 years and 363 days, Swiatek is the third-youngest women's player, after Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, to win 16 consecutive matches at the French Open during the Open Era.

    Victory also marked her 30th win at Roland-Garros, as many as Seles before turning 23.

    Only Graf (47), Sanchez Vicario (39), Gabriela Sabatini (34) and Martina Hingis (31) have registered more wins when under the age of 23 at this event during the Open Era.

    "For sure this match was really intense," Swiatek added in her on-court interview.

    "Much more intense for the second round than I ever expected. Naomi played amazing tennis, with a really loose hand – maybe she's gonna be a clay-court specialist in a while."

    The Pole has also now won 69 of her 70 completed WTA main-draw matches on clay after winning the opening set.

  • Gauff recovers from slow start to overcome Zidansek at Roland Garros Gauff recovers from slow start to overcome Zidansek at Roland Garros

    Coco Gauff booked her place in the French Open third round with another straight-sets victory over Tamara Zidansek.

    The third seed is yet to drop a set at Roland Garros in her opening two matches, but was made to work for her 6-3 6-4 win over the former Roland Garros semi-finalist.

    Zidansek broke in the opening game on the way to a 3-1 lead, but Gauff broke back in game six, and again in game eight on the way to drawing first blood.

    The players exchanged two breaks apiece to leave the set finely poised at 4-4, until the American's crucial break in the ninth game paved the way for victory.

    The 2022 runner-up will play either Dayana Yastremska or Wang Yafan in round three.

    Data Debrief: Gauff matches Evert

    The 20-year-old has now registered 17 match wins at the French Open. That is as many as the great Chris Evert managed before turning 21.

    In fact, only Kathy Rinaldi Stunkel and Mary Joe Fernandez have registered more victories amongst American women before the age of 21.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.