After last year’s win by Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis who would have thought that there could be a narrative more encapsulating?
Well the men’s doubles at the Australian Open might just get another fairytale with Australian wildcards Ricky Hijikata and Jason Kubler booking passage to the final after a 6-4, 6-2 victory over eighth seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.
Before the tournament, the pair had only won a combined nine matches on the ATP doubles circuit compared to their opponents’ 736, making the win even more spectacular.
Both are ecstatic to be in the position they are in, and are even more excited about how this result can set up their season.
“It's super special. You know, it's something we probably weren't expecting, and then even with the draw we have had in this tournament it's been pretty tough,” Kubler said.
“To be able to get through against all these quality opponents is making it even a little bit more sweeter.
“I'm super pumped now for what the future holds. You know, our rankings go up a fair bit now and we can actually play the other slams together.
“It's great that what we are doing here, but now we can look to Roland Garros, to Wimbledon, to US Open, to even Aussie Open next year now. There is a new team forming.”
The Australians were challenged on serve early, with Zeballos and Granollers seeming to coast through their own service games, until the seventh game of the opening set when a superb return game saw the home team gain the ascendancy.
Rod Laver Arena was available as a ground pass during the day session, and the Aussies had it rocking with the exuberance shining through as the pair celebrated clinching the first stanza.
Hijikata’s confidence on the forehand wing was showing and Kubler was volleying to perfection and it continued into the second set as they secured a break on the Granollers serve in the first game.
The enjoyment from the pair was infectious as the crowd began to play their role, inspiring the duo as they continued to maintain their advantage with grins from ear to ear.
In the seventh game of the second set Hijikata and Kubler, or Team Jinky as they are now known, claimed yet another break of serve as they raced to a 5-2 buffer.
It was then up to Kubler to serve it out and he was more than obliging as they wrapped it up in an hour and 22 minutes.
Hijikata and Kubler met around ten years ago as the young Rinky went to watch his older compatriot in a competition and their relationship has blossomed beautifully across the decade.
“I was about probably 10 or 11, and I went to go watch Kubs at the North Shore Open, because he would have been about 18 or 19 then.
“He was probably what, No. 1 junior in the world? I was like, yep, I want to be like him when I'm older.
“He actually lost that day.”
Kubler added, “You wouldn't think it, but me and Rinky, the difference in age is eight years.
“I feel like we have known each other for a long time. I don't know if this sounds bad for me, but our maturity level is pretty similar.
“I feel like we get along really well. Then out on the court, you know, the energy Rinky brings and I really enjoy it and then I try to give him some energy.
“We have been close for years now. If he's doing well at tournaments or I'm doing well at tournaments, we are congratulating each other.”
The duo will take on the Monagasque Austrian pair of Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski in Saturday night’s decider.