Wimbledon 2023: Neal Skupski & Wesley Koolhof to make men’s doubles semi-final debut
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Top seeds Neal Skupski and Wesley Koolhof are through to the Wimbledon men’s doubles semi-finals having come back to defeat Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
This will be the first men’s doubles semi-finals at The Championships for both players – Skupski going one further than his career-best performance with brother Ken in 2017, reaching the quarter-finals.
Currently ranked at joint world No.2, Skupski and Koolhof will move on to face sixth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden.
"It feels amazing," Skupski said. "We haven’t managed to get past the quarter-finals at the Australian and French Opens this year so it’s great to get over the line and make our first Grand Slam semi-final this year. Especially here at Wimbledon which is always extra special for me.
"I remember playing on Court 4 with my brother as a wild card and then nine years later I’m coming in as the top seed with Wesley, so it’s very different. I’m enjoying it, I’ve had success in the mixed doubles in the past but my goal is to do well in the men’s.
"It was tricky today coming up against a team that we’ve never played before. The conditions were very blustery but the belief was always there, the energy improved and our chemistry shone through in the end."
Having defeated former champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the previous round, Behar and Pavlasek got off to the perfect start with a break in only the third game and only lost five points on serve to see out the set.
The British, Dutch duo were sparked to life in the second, with Koolhof in particular dominating the court and making every shot that came his way. Shifting through the gears they got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the second and closed it out with the double break on their seventh break point of the set.
Another break to the good at the start of the third, it took a gutsy hold on the final game to see out the match. Trying to book their place in the final four on Koolhof’s serve, they faced two break points at 15-40, but the top seeds kept their cool.
A big serve from the Dutchman, followed by the fast reactions at the net from Skupski brought it back to deuce, much to the delight of the home crowd. Seemingly deflated by their missed opportunity, Pavlasek fired way long on his return against their first and only match point, bringing the match to a close in an hour and 46 minutes.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t to be for fellow Brit Jamie Murray on his journey to win his first men’s doubles title at SW19. Murray and Michael Venus lost to German duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-4, 6-3.
The German’s eyed their opportunity at 5-4 in the opening set, with three straight winners off Venus’s serve and on their first set point. 35-year-old, Venus, pushed a half volley long to hand their opponents a one set lead, very against the run of play.
With Puetz now having asserted himself into the match after a difficult start, the 10th seeds needed just one break off Murray’s serve at the start of the second to give them the advantage they needed to see out the win.
Britain's Naiktha Bains and Maia Lumsden became the first all-British women's pair to reach the Wimbledon quarter-final since 1983 earlier this week, but missed out on a spot in the final four following a 6-2, 6-1 defeat to third seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens