Neal Skupski delivers slice of Grand Slam revenge

Neal Skupksi delivered a slice of Grand Slam revenge as he advanced to the third round of Wimbledon.

Top seed alongside Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof in the men’s doubles draw this year, the Liverpool player safely progressed thanks to a 7-6(3) 6-2 victory over Australians Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata.

Kubler and Hijikata defeated Skupski, 34, and Koolhof on their way to the title at the Australian Open back in January, but it was a vastly different story on Monday, with the Australians unable to match the dynamic duo after a tight opening set.

“It was a very good match from me and Wes, playing two guys who had a very good start to the year,” said Skupski. “We learnt from that match in Australia and we changed a few things.

“We’re happy to get through this one, it was a very difficult task. That first set was key to get the momentum and take that momentum into the second. We managed to get an early break and they struggled a little bit from that point onwards.

“We were very solid throughout, got a lot of balls in play and served great. I think we just combined well to do what we needed to do, because we hadn’t played for a few days because of the rain.”

Rain delays have disrupted action at the All England Club heavily this year, with Skupski having a lengthy wait in between his first round matches.

And with the forecast much improved on Monday, the Merseyside star was relieved to be able to return to court.

He added: “It has been quite difficult. It’s just been days of practicing, which can be a bit repetitive.

“Wes managed to play yesterday in the mixed – it was probably good for him to get time on court.

“I’ve just been on the practice court, doing some specific things and working on my game. There was some stuff that I didn’t like when I lost in the mixed doubles.

“We ironed them things out, they seemed to be working and hopefully I can continue and get another win.”

Up next for Skupski and Koolhof are another Australian pairing in the form Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson – the former an opponent he knows very well.

Purcell and then partner Matt Ebden beat Skupski and Koolhof in a five-set thriller in the third round a year ago, before going on to claim the title on Centre Court.

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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