New York | Jamie chases two doubles titles
Britain’s Jamie Murray is chasing two doubles titles at the US Open after reaching both semi-finals of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles final at Flushing Meadows.
We didn't give them a chance, I'm really happy to be in the final again. Jamie Murray
After a slow start to their partnership Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski are forming a formidable team, moving within 2 wins of the men’s doubles title.
On the brink of defeat in the quarter-finals, they rallied from 2-5 in the final set against American duo Jack Sock & Jackson Withrow to advance to the Last 4 on Wednesday.
“Not saying we deserved to win more than them, but for us, for just the fight and the effort, the training we’ve done over the past few weeks, we got our payback for that,” Murray said.
The pair edged past the unseeded American duo, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), to move into the semis.
The big-serving Sock served for the match at 5-3, but was broken to love, taking out his frustration by slamming a ball into the upper reaches of Louis Armstrong Stadium
In the tiebreak, Sock again lost his serve to fall behind 4-5.
Murray powered in 2 service winners to take the tiebreak 7-4 to wrap up the nearly 2 hour match for the No 15 seeds.
Murray, 33, is trying to join some of the game’s greats like John Newcombe, Roger Taylor, Mark Woodforde and John McEnroe to win the Open doubles title with two different partners.
The most recent was Mike Bryan, who won last year with Sock after winning 5 times with his twin brother Bob.
The Brits will play the top-seeded and reigning Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who downed the unseeded duo of Luke Bambridge & Ben McLachlan, 6-4 6-4.
As has been the custom this tournament, at the conclusion of the 1-hour-and-19-minute victory, Cabal’s two-and-a-half-year-old-son Jacobo ran across to hug his father.
The Colombians became national heroes after their Wimbledon victory and even earned a visit to their President’s office.
The last team to do the Wimbledon and US Open double in the same year was Mike Bryan & Sock last year.
Murray joined forces with fellow Brit Skupski ahead of the grass-court campaign, following a decline in form with former partner Bruno Soares, with whom he won 2 Grand Slam titles and reached World No 1.
The Scot admitted at the time the decision to split with the Brazilian was his own and ‘had to be done’.
The initial signs for Murray & Skupski, who had previously played with his brother Ken, struggled on the grass courts, suffering early exits at Hertogenbosch and Queen’s before exiting Wimbledon in the first round.
Murray then reunited with his brother Andy, for the first time since September 2016, at the Citi Open in Washington.
What has followed is an impressive run of results, which has seen the new pairing reach the semi-finals in 3 straight tournaments, at Cincinnati, Winston-Salem and now in New York.
“Obviously it didn’t go too well on the grass… we didn’t spend much time after the grass,” Skupski told the ATP website.
“I played World Team Tennis for 3 weeks and Jamie played a week with Andy in Washington, and then we played Montreal together, we practised once before the match.
“We went to Cincinnati and we had a lot of days to work and practise. We put a lot of things together and I think from then it worked really well.
“We got a lot of matches in Cincinnati… we’ve come into the US Open with a lot of confidence and we’re in the semi-finals now and we’ve got to just take it one match at a time.”
Murray & Skupski will play top s, but this is not the only success Murray, who is one of 9 British players to have played in the men’s doubles, is enjoying in New York this fortnight.
In fact, Murray is closing on a 3rd men’s doubles Grand Slam title, the first since the 2016 US Open, and a 5th success in mixed doubles.
The men’s doubles final is scheduled for Friday in Arthur Ashe Stadium, mixed doubles is on Saturday and the women’s championship match slated to open the tournament’s final day on Sunday.
A pair of unseeded teams filled out the last two spots in the women’s doubles final four.
Playing together for the first time, Viktoria Kuzmova & Aliaksandra Sasnovich knocked out the No 3 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski & Yifan Xu, 2-6 6-3 6-3.
The American duo of Caroline Dolehide & Vania King ousted the No 14 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok & Jelena Ostapenko, 7-6 6-4, in a match that started with the sun shining and ended with the Armstrong roof closed after a passing rain storm.
In mixed doubles, Murray took the stage again in Armstrong with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, cruising into the final in straight sets.
The 33-year-old won his 2nd match on Wednesday to reach the final of the mixed doubles alongside his American partner, with a 6-3 6-1 win over Sam Stosur & Rajeev Ram.
“We were on fire,” said Murray, after the straight-sets win. “We didn’t give them a chance, I’m really happy to be in the final again.”
The Anglo-Americans are bidding to become the first pair to successfully defend the mixed doubles title at the US Open since Anne Smith & Kevin Curren in 1982.
The defending champions, who needed a wildcard after Mattek-Sands missed almost 5 months of the season with complications in her right knee, will need to defeat top seeds Chan Hao-Ching & Michael Venus in the final to repeat last year’s title.
Chan & Michael Venus defeated Latisha Chan & Ivan Dodig, 7-6(3) 7-5.
Victory would also mean a 3rd straight US Open success in mixed doubles for Murray, after winning alongside Martina Hingis in 2017.