Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic moved into the first Grand Slam final of their respective careers on Tuesday at the US Open. The eighth seeds hung tough to defeat third seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6(3), 6-4.
“We’re really happy. We played amazing and it was definitely one of our best matches together,” Mektic said. “We’re really looking forward to the final. We’re just playing game by game and trying to stay as focussed as possible.
Mektic saved three break points at 3-4 in the second set before the Dutch-Croatian duo scored the lone break of the set in the next game. Koolhof then comfortably served out the match after one hour and 34 minutes.
Mektic has won three ATP Masters 1000 doubles titles and lifted the Australian Open mixed doubles title in January (w/Krejickova). Koolhof competed in three Masters 1000 doubles finals last season and began this year with a trophy in Doha (w/Bopanna).
“I think we did the right things during this [suspension of play],” Koolhof said. “We haven’t played a bad match so far. We’re happy with the result and now we just need one more win.”
Photo Credit: Pete Staples/USTA
Awaiting them in the championship match are Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares, who rallied from 3-5 in the second set to defeat 2017 champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 6-4, 7-5. Pavic/Soares converted three of five break points and hit 30 winners on the day to reach their first team Grand Slam doubles final.
“That’s the place we want to be and the match we want to play,” Soares said on court after the win. “For a great portion of the match, they served really good and didn’t give us much of a chance… But then we fought back and took those last four games, and here we are.”
Both men have stood in the winner’s circle before in New York. Soares won the 2016 US Open men’s doubles title (w/J. Murray) and Pavic clinched the mixed doubles title that year (w/Siegemund).
Pavic/Soares faced a challenging start to the tournament. In the first round, they rallied from a break down in the third set against 2019 US Open finalists Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos. In the second round, Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow served for the match against them. But the 2019 Rolex Shanghai Masters champions persevered and are now one match from Soares’ third Grand Slam men’s doubles crown and Pavic’s second.