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Hijikata/Kubler Capture Australian Open Crown


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Australian wild cards Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler ended their fairytale run at the Australian Open in style Saturday when they defeated Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski 6-4, 7-6(4) to capture their first Grand Slam title.

Competing in front of vocal home support, Hijikata and Kubler hammered returns and were strong on serve, winning 88 per cent (38/43) of points behind their first deliveries to become the fifth unseeded team to win the Australian Open trophy.

“I have got to thank Rinky,” Kubler said during the trophy ceremony. “He was the reason we teamed for this tournament. I wasn’t sure and then Rinky asked me and I said yeah and decided to play. Two weeks later and we have this trophy, so a big thank you to Rinky.”

“I could never have imagined this,” Hijikata said. “I am glad you said yes Kubs to playing with me a few months ago. It is just unreal. Thank you so much mate, it has been unreal.”

With their 85-minute victory, the Australians followed in the footsteps of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios, who won the 2022 Aussie Open title as wild cards. Hijikata and Kubler are the third Australian team to win a men’s doubles trophy since last January, with Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell triumphing at Wimbledon.


Teaming for the first time this fortnight, the wild cards upset sixth seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara, top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski and eighth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

In a tight final, Hijikata and Kubler earned the decisive break of the first set in the third game to gain control. They did not face a break point in the opener to move ahead before they held their nerve in the second-set tie-break, winning a thrilling all-court championship point to seal their win.

“Thank you to all the fans, wow,” Kubler said. “I have never had a summer like this and with you guys, you have made it so special. I have played on a lot of big courts and you being out here with me makes me feel so comfortable. It feels like 1000 against two when I am out here.”

Nys and Zielinski were also competing in their first major final after advancing in deciding sets in four of their five matches.