Australian couple Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata win Australian Open 2023 doubles title

Australia pairing Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata have ensured an Australian Open trophy remains in home hands, storming to a surprise straight-set win in the men’s doubles final.

With singles champion Ash Barty retiring and Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis unable to defend their 2022 doubles crown through injury, Kubler and Hijikata have flown the flag and Monaco’s Hugo Nys and Poland’s Jan Zielinski are 6-4, 7-6 (7th : 4) defeated. in the decision on Saturday evening.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kubler and Hijikata’s stunning match point at the Australian Open is fine.

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The men’s match did not begin until after 11:00 p.m. at Rod Laver Arena, with the women’s singles final stretched to three sets.

But many local fans stayed at Melbourne Park after midnight to watch the unlikely win and the trophy being presented by doubles legends, American twins Mike and Bob Bryan.

They will also share an impressive $695,000 prize check.

Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler with the Australian Open champions trophy after defeating Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski in doubles. Credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Kubler, the former junior world No. 1 who has enjoyed a spectacular rise over the past 12 months after an injury-hit career, said it was his career highlight.

“It’s pretty crazy now what me and Rinky can do for the rest of the year – I think we can all play tournaments together and hopefully build on that,” said the 29-year-old.

“But, man, this is the pinnacle of my career for me.

“Rinky is only 21 and he’s a Grand Slam champion, so he has a great future ahead of him.”

The local wildcards, playing together for the first time, cut a swath through the draw to reach the title match, knocking out three top-10 seeders including top-seeders Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in the quarterfinals.

Nys and Zielinski also played in their first Grand Slam final and were only linked as a couple last March.

However, they won the Metz Trophy last season and reached the quarterfinals of the US Open.

The Australians showed no signs of nervousness, breaking Zielinski’s serve early in the opening set.

Kubler himself served well throughout, while Hijikata, eight years younger than his partner at 21, excelled at the net.

Both outplayed their opponents from the back of the pitch to cheer on their fans.

Kubler stormed through and leveled at 6-6 in the second set, resulting in the tie break.

They prevailed 5-4 after a searing Kubler forehand, winning the match in a chaotic final point that left Hijikata on his butt.

“I had no idea what was going on — Kubs (Kubler) hit back two balls and I absolutely stacked them,” Hijikata said.

“To be honest I’m a little dirty that that’s my match point to win a Grand Slam with it.”

Hijikata said he didn’t have long to celebrate and flew to Burnie, Tasmania for a Challenger tournament on Sunday.

No all-Australian pairing since the legendary Woodies – Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde – had won the Open men’s doubles in a quarter of a century until last year.

Now Kubler and Hijikata have repeated the wildcard exploits of the “Special Ks”, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis.

The Australians own two of the four Grand Slam men’s doubles trophies.

After losing the Australian Open final to Kyrgios and Kokkinakis last year, Max Purcell and Matt Ebden won Wimbledon six months later.

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Aryna Sabalenka wins the Australian Open 2023 Australian couple Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata win Australian Open 2023 doubles title

James Brien

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