Neal Skupski

Neal Skupski progresses to Wimbledon quarter-final

Neal Skupski’s quest for another Wimbledon title continued as the Liverpool ace reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles.

Skupski and partner Wesley Koolhof delivered a stylish performance to beat reigning champions Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson out on Court 3, claiming a 6-3 7-6(3) triumph.

The top seeds were an early break down to the Australian duo in the opening set, but broke back almost immediately and proved impenetrable on serve afterwards, and dominated on return through the remainder of the first set.

Purcell and Thompson did have chances to force a third set, leaving two-time SW19 mixed doubles champion Skupski relieved to finish the contest off in straight sets.

The 34-year-old said: “Before the match you want to go on and you want to be positive, and try and take the game to your opponents, but it wasn’t the best of games to start off.

“We managed to get a foothold back in the match by breaking at 2-1, and we managed to get a bit of momentum and break them to take the first set, which was important for us. They’re a very dangerous side, they serve very well and they hit the ball great from the back.

“It was key to win that first, but the second set was a little different. We didn’t have as many chances but they had lots of chances, I think six set points in the second set at 5-4.

“But we managed to come through that, we stayed strong and didn’t let our heads go down. It was a massive game in terms of the overall match. If they take that set, they probably have the momentum.

“It’s another straight sets win against very tough opposition. They’ve played Davis Cup together, so it’s massive for us – and we’ll look forward to playing our quarter-final.”

Standing in between Skupski and Koolhof and a place in the final four are Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek, an unseeded pairing not afraid of taking on tough opposition.

Uruguayan Behar and Czech ace Pavlasek defeated eighth seeds Fabrice Martin and Andreas Mies in the second round, before shocking ninth seeds and 2021 Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic on Tuesday.

Skupski will be the favourite to reach what will be a first Wimbledon semi-final in the men’s doubles discipline, but is aware of how dangerous his next opponents can be.

He added: “They must be in good form and playing well. I’ve played Behar in the past with Wesley and we’ve had a bit of success but we’ve never played Pavlásek, so we’ll have to do our scouting to see where we can get the upper hand.

“You don’t want to give them confidence early on. Hopefully they’ll see the seeding next to our name, and they fear us a little bit. We don’t want to give them anything to build momentum on.

“It’s important that we get off to a strong start tomorrow. We’re just looking forward to getting back on court, and hopefully the Brits get behind me like they did here.”

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