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Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis clinched a maiden Grand Slam title as they beat fellow Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the men’s doubles final at the Australian Open.
Dubbed the ‘Special Ks’, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis won 7-5 6-4 in front of a lively home crowd on Rod Laver Arena.
It was the first all-Australian men’s doubles final in Melbourne since 1980.
The match completed a memorable day for Australian tennis, after Ashleigh Barty won the women’s singles title.
Kokkinakis said earlier in the tournament the pair liked the crowd “the rowdier the better” and, following compatriot Barty’s triumph against American Danielle Collins, the stage was set.
In a hugely entertaining run to the final, the wildcard duo of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis made their intentions clear as they defeated top seeds Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in the second round.
Among their antics at Melbourne Park, Kyrgios handed one of his racquets to a young boy in the crowd after accidentally hitting him when he swiped away a ball during the quarter-finals.
But Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have also delighted with their tennis, with the third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos becoming the fourth seeded pair to be eliminated by the Australians at the semi-final stage.
The pair, who won the Wimbledon boys’ title together in 2013, have both fuelled and utilised a partisan atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena.
They got their audience going once again in a competitive opening set, eventually seizing their fourth break point for 6-5 before Kokkinakis served out to love.
Also chasing a maiden Grand Slam title, Ebden and Purcell raised the decibel levels again at the start of the second set as Ebden followed up a between-the-legs shot by winning the opening point.
The second set continued on serve, with four consecutive love holds, until Ebden’s serve was broken to love to put Kyrgios and Kokkinakis within two games of the title.
The umpire was forced to address the crowd for calling out during points and Kyrgios demanded the guilty individuals be removed, which they were.
By that point Kokkinakis had held for a 5-3 lead. Although the pair were unable to take their first match point in the following game, Kyrgios held without trouble to secure an excellent victory.