EBDEN, PURCELL SECURE SPOT IN AO SEMIS


Photograph: Getty Images

Australian duo Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell have booked their place in the Australian Open semifinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) come from behind win over No. 10 seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski on Kia Arena.


The Aussies were up against it after dropping the opening set, but thanks to a raucous Kia Arena crowd right behind them, they mounted a serious comeback, and eventually prevailed in a match tiebreak.


"The key to victory was probably the crowd. It really was. Some people say that it's not true. Today was actually pretty true," Ebden said in their post-match press conference.


"They got real loud, real noisy. Something happened there. It fired us up, changed our energy, went a bit crazy. The other guys maybe felt a bit of pressure or something. We returned it. Hit some returns, ran with it. Took the game, the set, took that momentum into the third, too. Got up the break. That was key. Then again, we served well when we were ahead as well. They actually played a really good game to break us back. We didn't do too much wrong. Most of the points we had chances to win," Ebden said.


Next up, Ebden and Purcell will face 2020 Champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. They met in the quarterfinals of the US Open last year, where eventual champions Ram and Salisbury won in a gruelling third set tiebreaker.


"That was another quality match. 6-7, 7-6, 6-7, whatever it was. We had chances to win. We had the match point. Again, sure, we could have won it, didn't. They made a good return. That's tennis. That's doubles. We've both experienced enough. Obviously I've seen more years, but Max has seen a lot in his years. They're a quality pair. We believe it. We really want to go for them. We want to win slam titles, for sure. I want to win lots of them. No secret there," Ebden said.


"To be the best you have to beat the best. These guys are definitely one of the best teams. I think now in the last couple slams we're probably one of the best teams, too. Should be a great shootout. Last time was in New York. Maybe that one-point difference can be made in our home slam like it was today. One or two points here or there that were key.


We're definitely going to try to use that to our advantage and turn that match our way. We're going to have to play really well for sure. They're a great team, so we got to respect them. Come down to what we do on the court."


Off the court, the pair share a strong bond.


"Mattie and I, we're pretty straight to the point. There's no mucking around. We're on it with our bodies, coaches, getting practice times ready," Purcell said.


"It seems really professional, but it's also really nice to have someone that's similar to me with all that. I'm not worried about anything. We get our next pairing, I have a bunch of notes from Mattie about the next pair. We're all on it. Matty is really invested in winning so I'm loving it."


Also in doubles action at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, Storm Sanders and her American partner Caroline Dolehide went down to No. 1 seeds Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Sinniakova 2-6, 6-7(3) in the quarterfinals.


Aussie John Peers & China's Shuai Zhang also bowed out, going down in the semifinals of the mixed doubles to No. 5 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig 6-1, 5-7, 2-10.

In girls singles action, Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz moved into the quarterfinals with a thrilling 7-6(3), 0-6, 7-6(5) win over Tereza Valentova.


On the boys side, Hayden Jones went down to No. 4 seed Jakub Mensik 2-6, 4-6.