Britain’s Joe Salisbury missed out on an Australian Open final meeting with Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis as he and partner Rajeev Ram lost 6-3 7-6 (11-9) in the semi-finals.
Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell saw off four set points in the tie-break to beat second seeds Ram and Salisbury and set up an all-Australian final.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, dubbed the ‘Special Ks’, beat Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentine Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in front of a raucous capacity crowd.
The wildcard duo, who beat top seeds Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in the second round, have fuelled a partisan atmosphere on the Rod Laver Arena and there were more antics and dramatics en route to the final.
Kyrgios argued with British umpire James Keothavong over a net cord sensor before showing the middle finger to a fan he accused of distracting him during a lost service game.
However he said after the victory that the spectacle he provides is good for the game.
“If they flick on a match and they have Thanasi and I playing in an entertaining doubles match, they know nothing about tennis, if they watch that match just then, they probably would tune in next time,” he said.
“That’s what I’m about. That’s what I want to bring. I think that’s how the sport is going to survive.”
Salisbury and Ram won the Australian Open doubles title in 2020 and were runners-up in last year’s tournament.
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