Joe Salisbury’s quest for two Wimbledon trophies this weekend faltered when the Brit and his American partner, Rajeev Ram, narrowly lost their men’s doubles semi-final against top seeds Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic, but his hopes remained alive in the mixed after he and Harriet Dart outlasted Jeremy Chardy & Naomi Broady on No 1 Court on Thursday.
Ram & Salisbury made the quarter-finals without dropping a se, but No 1 seeds, Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic from Croatia edged the tight battle that saw 3 tiebreaks across 4 sets, winning 7-6(6) 6-3 6-7(2) 7-6(5) after nearly three and a half hours.
155-154 points in total, it was that close.
Pavic & Mektic advance to their maiden Wimbledon final as a duo to take on the Spanish and Argentine combination of Marcel Granollers & Horacio Zeballos, the No 4 seeds who booked their final ticket with a 6-4 6-4 7-6(3) win over Italy’s Simone Bolelli & Maximo Gonzalez, also from Argentina.
For 29-year-old Salisbury, who won a maiden Grand Slam at the 2020 Australian Open, and had been hoping to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon doubles final since Jamie Murray back in 2015, it was a major disappointment.
Ram & Salisbury had ample chances to seize control of the match but Mektic & Pavic held their nerve brilliantly, saving 10 of 11 break points.
Salisbury’s hopes now rest on the mixed doubles, where he and Dart are into the semi-finals after a 2-hour tussle with Chardy & Naomi Broady, who took the first set and looked as if they were heading for the win Salisbury & Dart levelled, before breaking at 4-3 after 6 deuces in the decider.
Chardy & Broady fought back only for Salisbury & Dart to break again to secure a 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory.
For a place in the final, the Brits will play Germany’s Kevin Krawietz & Kveta Peschke from the Czech Republic, the No 9 seeds, who upset the 2nd-seeded pair of Mate Pavic from Croatia & Canadian Debra Dabrowski, 6-3 6-7(3) 9-7, on No 2 Court.
Krawczyk is bidding for a second consecutive Grand Slam title with a British player having won the French Open alongside Salisbury.
Britain’s Neal Skupski is in the other semi-final after he and his American partner Desirae Krawczyk overcame 14th seeds Jean-Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac, 7-6(6) 6-2., and have yet to drop a set in the tournament.
The 7th seeds take on Australia’s John Peers & Zhang Shuai from China, the No 17 seeds, who eliminated 4th seeds Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France & America’s Nicole Melichar, 6-2 6-4
Jamie Murray was the last British man to win the mixed doubles, alongside Martina Hingis in 2017, while Heather Watson was the last woman when she won it the year before with Finn Henri Kontinen.
The last time an all-British duo won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon was in 1987 when Jo Durie & Jeremy Bates lifted the trophy.
The semi-finals of the ladies doubles will be played on No 1 Court on Friday when Su-Wei Hsieh from Taiwan & Belgian Elise Mertens, the No 3 seeds, meet Japan’s Shuko Aoyama & Ena Shibahara, the No 5 seeds, in the first match, followed by Veronika Kudermetova & Elina Vesnina from Russia against Australia’s Storm Sanders and her American partner Caroline Dolehide, both pairs unseeded.