Australian Open fans erupt as Aussies tee up 42-year first

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are through to the mens doubles final at the Australian Open, where they'll face fellow Aussies Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden. Pictures: Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are through to the mens doubles final at the Australian Open, where they'll face fellow Aussies Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden. Pictures: Getty Images

It'll be an all Australian affair in the final of the men's doubles at the Australian Open, with the pairing of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis to face Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden.

While Kyrgios and Kokkinakis stole all the headlines with their bombastic displays on Kia Arena, the other Aussie duo quietly worked their own way through the bracket.

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With their semi-final match moved onto Rod Laver Arena after the ground pass accessible Kia Arena was packed to the rafters for their first four matches, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis played a slightly more reserved but nonetheless effective game against Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.

On serve throughout the first set, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis found an extra gear to win the tiebreak handily, before swiftly taking a 3-1 lead in the second set.

The third-seeded combination of Zeballos and Grenollers wouldn't go away that easily though, and clawed their way back to level the second set at 4-4.

Kyrgios had become frustrated after a series of let serves, arguing with the chair umpire and eventually being warned for smashing his racquet after his serve was broken at 4-3.

However Kokkinakis held his serve to regain the advantage at 5-4, before delivering the matchwinning break point to send the Rod Laver Arena crowd into a frenzy.

It was a far cry from the more muted atmosphere nextdoor at Margaret Court Arena, where Purcell and Ebden claimed a straight sets win of their own over Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram.

There was no raucous crowd on hand to cheer them home as the won the second set tiebreak 11-9 to tee up what will likely be a fairly rowdy all-Australian doubles final.

Fans were thrilled by the prospect of the doubles final, which has generated massive interest this year thanks to Kyrgios and Kokkinakis' run.

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Speaking prior to their semi-final match, Ebden joked that it would be amazing to have an all Australian final played in front of a home crowd.

Indeed, cameras picked up vision of Ebden and Purcell watching the conclusion of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis' match behind the scenes, with the pair cracking a huge smile once their opponents were confirmed.

Ebden said he had been speaking with their upcoming opponents throughout the tournament to help the doubles wildcards prepare.

"I was joking with Maxie (Purcell) before, awesome if we could play Aussies in the final," Ebden said.

"We got to get there first - so do they. They're great players, too.

Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden will face fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open men's doubles final. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden will face fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open men's doubles final. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

"If we end up all Aussies in the final, of course that would be amazing.

"I've seen snippets of Nick and Thanasi playing. We know some of the guys they've been playing, had a word with them here or there about what they should do.

"They've obviously got big serves, big games.

"I like the way they've been using the crowd to their advantage."

While Kyrgios is the most outspoken player on tour, Purcell can also let fly when he wants to.

The 23-year-old hit out at Davis Cup captain and Australian tennis great Lleyton Hewitt after failing to receive a singles wildcard for this year's Open.

"I've never been one of Lleyton's boys, so in the back of my mind I'm always like 'I'm probably not going to get one'," Purcell said after failing to qualify.

With AAP

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