British interest in the doubles continues at Wimbledon where Joe Salisbury faces a gruelling double-header as he chases two trophies on home soil in both the men’s and mixed competitions.
I got pretty annoyed after losing that second set. I had a men's match, I've got another men's match tomorrow, so obviously you don't want to be on court too long, and now we're missing the England game. Joe Salisbury
The Londoner will play twice on Thursday with an excellent chance of in both disciplines.
First up on No 1 Court at 1pm with American partner Rajeev Ram, Salisbury takes on Croatian top seeds Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic, winner of 7 titles this year, in the best-of-5-set men’s doubles semi-finals after the pair scored an impressive 6-3 6-4 7-6 win over defending champions Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah from Colombia on Wednesday.
American Ram & Salisbury, who are yet to drop a set at Wimbledon this year, won 3 out of 3 break points in Wednesday’s contest and the Brit wrapped up the victory in style with a sublime backhand return.
Mektic & Patic beat Salisbury & Ram for the third time this year in the final at Eastbourne, the week before Wimbledon.
“They’ve done very well this year, won a lot of tournaments,” said Salisbury. “It will be tough. We’ve played them a few times and lost to them.
“But they have lost matches. We’re playing well, it’s our favourite surface, so we’re going to back ourselves.”
This is the furthest the 6th seeds have gone together at the All England Club, although both have reached the semi-finals here before, Ram in 2016 with Raven Klaasen and Salisbury three years ago alongside Freddie Nielsen.
They have become one of the most consistent pairs in the world, reaching at least the quarter-finals at 5 of the last 6 Grand Slams and winning their first major title together in Australia last year.
Then, after a few hours of rest, Salisbury will team up with Harriet Dart in the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles taking on wild-cards Britain’s Naomi Broady & Jeremy Chardy from France.
“Hopefully the body stays okay. I’m feeling pretty good now. I will give it my all,” 29-year old Salisbury said “It’s great. Obviously I’m happy to be in both. I’m having a good run and want to keep it going.
“Hopefully I can still be here and have the chance to win both.
“The body is fine. There have been a lot of matches this week.
“Wednesday was a busy day. We played some pretty good tennis out there.”
Salisbury & Ram have yet to drop a set in the men’s doubles.
On Wednesday Salisbury & Dart came through a tough mixed, 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3, against Austrian Oliver Marach & Lyudmyla Kichenok from the Ukraine.
Salisbury was frustrated that his workload was extended by a deciding set in the mixed doubles, mostly because it meant he had not finished his media duties in time to watch the football.
“I got pretty annoyed after losing that second set,” he said. “I had a men’s match, I’ve got another men’s match tomorrow, so obviously you don’t want to be on court too long, and now we’re missing the England game.”
There will be three British players on court in Salisbury & Dart’s next match, with the pair taking on Stockport’s Broady and Frenchman Chardy, who beat 10th seeds Raven Klaasen & Darija Jurak, 6-3 7-5.
“Hopefully we’ll still be here and with a chance to win both at the weekend,” Salisbury added.
Neal Skupski is also through to the last 8 in the mixed partnering American Desirae Krawczyk, who won the mixed doubles title at the French Open last month with Salisbury.
The pair defeated the all-British pair of Arthur Fery & Tara Moore, 7-6 (5) 6-3, on Wednesday and the 7th seeds now take on the No 14 seeds Jean-Julien Roger from the Netherlands & Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac in the 3rd match on Centre Court on Thursday.
Roger & Klepac eliminated India’s Rohan Bopanna & Sania Mirza in a rain-affected Round of 16 match in which Mirza was consistently put under pressure.
When the stop-start match Roger & Klepac secured a one-set lead, the battle was on and finished in their favour, 6-3 3-6 11-9.
Former World No 1 in doubles, Mirza has not played much competitive tennis after giving birth and was struggling with her serve but Bopanna’s reflexes at the net and a solid game from the baseline kept the Indians in the hunt.
Mirza served at 9-10 and Roger hit a crushing forehand winner at 15-15 before Bopanna’s volley sailed over the baseline.
The Dutchman executed a stunning service winner on the second match point to score the win.
Meanwhile John Peers matched his career-best result in the mixed at Wimbledon by progressing to the quarter-finals.
The 32-year-old Australian, who last reached the final 8 at the All England Club 8 years ago, and his Chinese partner Zhang Shuai eliminated the No 6 seeds and defending champions Ivan Dodig from Croatia & Taipei’s Latisha Chan in the third round.
They now play 4th seeds Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France & America’s Nicole Melichar, who halted Andrei Vasilevski from Belarus & Aussie Arina Rodionova’s career-best run, 6-2 4-6 6-4.
In the last quarter-final of the mixed, Germany’s Kevin Krawietz & Kveta Peschke from the Czech Republic, seeded 9th, received a walkover from Ram & Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and will take on the No 2 seeds Mate Pavic from Croatia & Canadian Debra Dabrowski, 6-4 6-4 winners over Belgium’s Sander Gille & Haley Carter from the USA, the 9th seeds, on Wednesday.
In the Ladies Doubles there was a shock defeat of the top seeds, Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, when the Czech pair lost to the unseeded Russian pair of Veronika Kudermetova & Elina Vesnina, 6-7(6) 6-4 9-7.
The Russians will take on another unseeded pair in Australia’s Storm Sanders and her American partner Caroline Dolehide, who continued their impressive march through the draw with a 7-5 6-2 victory against seventh seeds Hao-Ching Chan & Latisha Chan from Tawian in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The pair have yet to lose a set while it is first ladies’ doubles semi-final at Grand Slam-level for the 26-year-old Sanders, the World No 59 never having progressed beyond the second round in 15 major appearances.
The left-handed Sanders also becomes the first Australian to reach a Wimbledon ladies’ doubles semi-final in 8 years, with Ash Barty & Casey Dellacqua the last to do so during their finals run in 2013.
In the second semi-final Su-Wei Hsieh from Taiwan & Belgian Elise Mertens, the No 3 seeds, meet Japan’s Shuko Aoyama & Ena Shibahara, the No 5 seeds.