Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski delivered a Match Tie-break masterclass on Friday at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the top seeds completed a 7-5, 4-6, 10-6 victory against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek to boost their semi-final qualification hopes.

Both teams entered the contest with the possibility of progressing from Green Group, but it was the Dutch-British duo of Koolhof and Skupski that dominated the decider after two tight sets at the Pala Alpitour. It stormed to an 8/1 lead that proved unassailable, clinching a one-hour, 41-minute victory.

Despite Friday’s win, Koolhof and Skupski must wait to find out whether they have qualified for the semi-finals. Should Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios defeat the already-qualified Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in Friday’s night session in Turin, the Australian pair would go through at Koolhof and Skupski’s expense.

“We are going to watch the match,” Skupski said. “Maybe here or at the hotel. If Mektic and Pavic win, we will have a semi-final tomorrow and we will need to rest up. We will have our Croatian flags waving in our hotel room and hopefully they can do the job for us.”

It was Koolhof and Skupski’s second meeting with Dodig and Krajicek in the space of two weeks, after the pairs met in the championship match at the Rolex Paris Masters. Just as they had in France, it was Koolhof and Skupski who prevailed as they kept alive their chances of becoming the first top-seeded pair to triumph at the prestigious season finale since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2014.

“It was a tough one,” Koolhof said. “We played it like a final, treated it like a final. We are happy to win.”

Since teaming at the beginning of the 2022 season, Koolhof and Skupski have lifted seven tour-level titles together. Those include three ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Madrid, Montreal, and Paris.


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