The inspired run of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open men’s doubles has continued with a tense three-set win over sixth seeds Tim Pütz and Michael Venus.
- Kyrgios and Kokkinakis were pushed to a third set before winning 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
- They served 25 aces in their semifinal victory
- They play third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the last four
The Kia Arena crowd was again abuzz with excitement as the unseeded Australian pair roared into the semifinals on the back of the 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 triumph, which they celebrated with an enthusiastic on-court chest bump.
The combined power of their booming serves proved crucial in the victory, with Kyrgios and Kokkinakis sending down a staggering 25 aces.
Kyrgios was animated after the match, dropping an expletive during the on-court interview.
“I want to win this f***ing thing,” Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios said he and Kokkinakis were not going to change their style.
“As long as I’m playing this sport and playing in Australia, you sure will have a show and I’m sure Thanasi feels the same way,” he said.
Kokkinakis praised the crowd, as he jokingly expressed his wish he and Kyrgios would play their remaining matches on the court.
“When we walk through that tunnel there’s nothing like it,” he said.
“We’re seeing these stands packed, everyone is going ‘bunta’. We don’t want anything else, this is perfect.”
While the raucous crowd were thrilled with the victory, they were also touched by a heartwarming moment involving Kyrgios.
Early in the first set, an errant Kyrgios smash flew into the crowd, with the ball hitting a young boy in the stands.
It was unintentional from Kyrgios, who immediately showed remorse.
As chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore checked on the boy’s condition, Kyrgios ran to his bag and took out one of his racquets.
He gave the racquet to the boy, with the crowd showing its appreciation with a round of applause.
Earlier, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis were met by an almighty roar from their fans as they walked onto the court, with the infamous “siuuu” call ringing around the arena.
The close friends were in a relaxed mood, with Kokkinakis giving a thumbs up to spectators, while Kyrgios waved his right fist in the air in appreciation of their support.
Crowd interest was matched by a strong TV audience, with host broadcaster Channel Nine choosing to focus on the doubles, instead of the men’s singles quarterfinal between Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov on Rod Laver Arena.
As the Queen anthem We Will Rock You blared inside the arena just before the players warmed up, Pütz and Venus would have been forgiven if they felt overwhelmed by the occasion.
But the German and New Zealander were unfazed, and in the eighth game they had the Kokkinakis serve under pressure when they earned two break points.
Kokkinakis eventually held, but he and Kyrgios knew Pütz and Venus were not going to lie down.
The match continued on serve until the 11th game. With Pütz serving, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis gained two break points, converting on the second.
They ran to their chairs at the change of ends as the crowd erupted, and in the following game — on Kokkinakis’s serve — a reflex backhand volley at the net from Kyrgios iced the set.
Pütz and Venus seized control of the second set when they broke Kyrgios’s serve in the second game. Venus later served for the set at 5-3, as emotions began to spill over on both sides of the net.
With three break points up their sleeve and the chance to get the set back on serve, Kyrgios began whipping the crowd into a frenzy, much to the frustration of their opponents.
Venus then attracted the ire of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis — as well as the crowd — following aborted attempts with his ball toss as he served.
After losing a point, Kyrgios threw his racquet to the ground, as he and Kokkinakis complained to Asderaki-Moore about the time Venus was taking to serve.
Venus ended up holding serve on the back of winning five straight points to claim the set and level the match.
The deciding set went on serve until the fourth game when Kyrgios and Kokkinakis broke to love.
The break did not kill the spirit of Pütz and Venus, but it did leave them with a massive task of fighting their way back into the set.
Kokkinakis faced a break point in the seventh game, but he kept his nerve to hold for a 5-2 lead.
Two games later, Kyrgios closed out the match on his serve after 2 hours and 16 minutes, with the crowd beside themselves with delight.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis will meet third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the semifinals.