Australian wild cards Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler thrilled their home fans in Margaret Court Arena as they advanced to the Australian Open quarter-finals in dramatic fashion on Monday. In a 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 win against Tomislav Brkic and Gonzalo Escobar, the pair saved a match point with a winner at 7/8 in the second-set tie-break and rode that momentum to victory.
Despite winning 87 points to their opponents’ 99, Hijikata/Kubler were at their best in the crucial moments as they edged the tie-break and won four of the match’s final five games. It is the second straight match in which the pair battled back from a set down to advance, after their second-round win against sixth seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.
Their victory sets up a showdown with top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who earned a 6-4, 6-2 win against Nikola Cacic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in Kia Arena.
Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski continued their run by shocking second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-7(4), 7-6(8), 6-2. The unseeded pair saved one match point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break before pulling away in the third set to earn victory against the 2020 Australian Open champions in two hours and 33 minutes.
Nys and Zielinski will meet Benjamin Bonzi and Arthur Rinderknech in the quarter-finals after the Frenchmen defeated Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 6-2.
In other action, eighth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos beat Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen 6-1, 7-6(4), while Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin defeated Jiri Lehecka and Alex Molcan 7-6(2), 6-3.