Australian Open: Doubles delight for Kyrgios and Kokkinakis as Special Ks take title

By Sports Desk January 29, 2022

Nick Kyrgios and Thanaki Kokkinakis completed their Melbourne mission as they were crowned Australian Open doubles champions on Rod Laver Arena.

The Special Ks partnership, who have drawn huge crowds and fresh interest to doubles, sealed the title with a 7-5 6-4 win over fellow Australians Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden.

It was approaching midnight on a special day for Australian tennis when Kyrgios and Kokkinakis got over the line, following women's singles queen Ash Barty onto the roll call of this year's champions.

With one break of serve in each set, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis held firm behind their own games as the singles specialists showcased their precocious skills on the doubles court.

Kyrgios served for the win in style, firing two aces in a row before Kokkinakis put away a volley on match point.

The new champions forced the only break of the first set in the 11th game when Ebden volleyed into the net off the return of serve from Kokkinakis, who was then the chief aggressor as he and Kyrgios secured a break in the seventh game of the second set.

Kyrgios has never been beyond the quarter-finals of a singles slam, reaching that stage at Wimbledon as a teenager in 2014 before doing likewise at the 2015 Australian Open.

His redoubtable talent has not been backed up by the trophies many expected him to win, and he will have turned 27 by the time the next major, the French Open, begins in late May.

Together with Kokkinakis, whose own promising career has been blighted by injuries, Kyrgios has thrived this fortnight. And although the prize money in doubles pales against the singles rewards on offer, a first taste of grand slam glory could be a major career spark for this pair.

They were the wildest of wildcards, with Kyrgios criticised by Michael Venus, a New Zealander left in his wake in the quarter-finals, for his showboating style and geeing up of the crowd.

"It felt like a circus out there and not really a tennis match," complained Venus, speaking to New Zealand channel 1News. Any doubles partnership featuring the combustible Kyrgios is likely to be an acquired taste.

This time, though, it felt like a party, with Ebden saying he was "really, really impressed" by Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, and Purcell said it was "hell of fun to watch you guys play".

Australia Day was on Wednesday, but Saturday felt like an extended celebration.

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