Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata are the Australian Open 2023 men’s double champions, after defeating Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski 6-4 7-6(4) on Saturday night.
The Aussie duo have been the feel-good story of the tournament, having never played doubles together and defying the odds to lift the crown above their heads.
WILDCARDS TO WINNERS 🏆— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2023
🇦🇺 Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler have won their first Grand Slam title in their first event as a team! @wwos • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/lCn9kvsmn4
From the get-go, the energetic couple looked on and quickly made the presence felt out there on the court.
Playing on Rod Laver Arena, Hijikata and Kubler felt the home court advantage and rode that wave all the way to glory.
The upbeat Australian pairing proved to be too strong in the first set.
It was on serve until the third game, when Hijikata and Kubler broke their opponents.
They took this advantage and converted it to give themselves every chance of being crowned men’s doubles champions.
Hijikata’s work in close at the net was paramount to gaining some ascendancy while Kubler’s strong service game helped set up a lot of points.
The Australian duo received a lot of vocal support from the crowd and let their filter through to their on-court demeanour, playing positive and exciting tennis.
Nys and Zielinski struggled to find their groove as they found themselves in a spot of bother during their first Grand Slam final.
The following set was typical of a doubles match, with neither pairing letting up on their service game.
Hijikata’s constant reinforcements and impressive net play kept the Aussies in touch and in arm’s reach of the crown.
With both teams' service game too strong, the second set would be decided in a tiebreak.
The Aussie pair looked more positive then there opponents and it showed as they found mini-breaks throughout the tiebreak.
Desperate efforts from Hijikata - who found himself on the ground during championship point - as well as smart tennis from Kubler kept the ball alive until an error from Nys was met with an eruption from the crowd.
Alike Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2022, an Aussie duo was crowned as the men’s doubles champions.