Koolhof/Skupski take the #MMOPEN crown

Antonio Arenas Men's Tennis, Mutua News

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski added their names to the winners’ circle on the clay of Madrid after beating Juan Sebastián Cabral and Robert Farah in three sets (6-7,6-4, 10-5) in a two-hour encounter. After “an incredible week”, Koolhof and Skupski thanked the fans for their support and acknowledged they had arrived at the event feeling “confident”.

Of the 28 pairs that played in the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open doubles, two were left to battle it out in the coveted final of the event on its twentieth edition. The first duo to stamp their ticket to the decider were Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who knocked out Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner in the semis in two sets (7-6(7), 7-5).

Since the Dutch and British players joined forces in January, they have been unstoppable. Three titles this season and six finals, two of them consecutive (Barcelona and Madrid). Colombian duo Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah also achieved consecutive finals, in Monte Carlo then the Spanish capital, sealing their passage to the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open decider by defeating Jamie Murray and Michael Venus 7-6(3), 6-3 on Saturday.

Both teams opened the first set by winning their serve. In the third game, Cabal and Farah manage to break and take the lead (1-2). It did not last long though, as Koolhof and Skupski returned the favour to level the tie. The Dutch and Briton then went ahead by closing a game out with an ace when the scoreboard read 15-40.

Cabal and Farah’s response was immediate, delivering a game to love that levelled the match once more. The first set went to a tiebreak, where the Colombians’ serving proved too much for their opponents and earned them the first set after one hour of tennis.

The momentum gained by Cabal and Farah in the tiebreak continued into the first game of the second set. With the score at one game apiece, Cabal twisted his ankle when approaching the net and had to call a medical timeout. Once he had returned, both teams went on to take a game each (2-2). It was Farah that was doing most of the heavy lifting on court, while his partner still looked hampered by his right foot.

A shot driven into the net by Cabal gave Koolhof and Skupski a chance to break serve, and it was a chance they would grab with both hands (3-2). They converted on their own serve to pull away, but a game to love from the Colombians reeled them back to 4-3. After 1 hour and 49 minutes on the clay of the Manolo Santana court, Koolhof and Skupski served out the second set to take the match to a super tiebreak. There, the British and Dutch players served faultlessly to close out the match (10-5) and keep Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah from winning their first title this year. “At 4-0 in the super tiebreak, we never thought we’d won. We played fantastic tennis in the last ten minutes of the final”, they explained after the match.

Having been crowned champions of the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open doubles, the duo formed by Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski now have four titles under their belts and their run of form in 2022 continues. “The next stop is Rome. We want to enjoy this. Everything comes through playing good tennis. But doing well at a Grand Slam is the next goal”.