Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski were in danger of suffering an early exit at the Australian Open on Saturday, but the top seeds found a way through to the third round.
Koolhof and Skupski battled past Greek brothers Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(10-7) after two hours and 45 minutes. They are pursuing their first major trophy as a pair.
“We won a lot of titles last year. The only thing [that] was missing was a Grand Slam win,” Koolhof said. “We made it to the final of the US Open, but our goal is to get at least one Grand Slam this year, so why not here?”
The Tsitsipas Brothers played well inside Kia Arena, where they happily involved the Greek fans. But Koolhof and Skupski rallied in the final-set tie-break.
The top seeds hit key returns against Petros’ serve and Koolhof excelled with his rapid reflexes at the net in critical moments.
Eighth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos also rallied for a victory, outlasting Marcelo Demoliner and Andrea Vavassori 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.
Fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek were unable to escape a tight battle of their own. Indian alternates N.Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan upset the Croatian-American duo 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-4.
Other teams that advanced to the third round were South Africans Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen and Czech-Slovakian team Jiri Lehecka and Alex Molcan.