Australian Open: Local wildcards Kubler-Hijikata enter men’s doubles final

Melbourne: Australia’s wild card men’s doubles pair, Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler continued their spectacular run in the Australian Open, as the duo sealed their place in the men’s doubles final on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Hijikata and 29-year-old Kubler recorded a remarkable 6-4, 6-2 semifinal victory against eighth seeds Spanish-Argentine combination Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos here at Rod Laver Arena.

“This is the first time I’ve played during the day on Rod Laver Arena, so I was, to be honest, a little bit nervous coming out. But then as soon as our energy starts going, I’m not even thinking anymore. I’m just swinging,” Kubler said.

Hijikata and Kubler, who are teaming up for the first time at this tournament, have now beaten three seeded teams and eliminated seven top 20-ranked opponents, as well as saving a match point, during their giant-killing run at Australian Open 2023.

The effort makes them only the sixth all-Australian team to reach an Australian Open men’s doubles final in Melbourne Park’s 35-year history.

The Australians will face Monegasque-Polish pair Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski for the title. Hijikata and Kubler are aiming to become just the second wildcards to win an Australian Open men’s doubles title. Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were the first to achieve this feat last summer.

–IANS

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