Croatia doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will defend their Wimbledon title in the doubles competition after defeating Colombians Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the semi-final of the third tennis Grand Slam tournament of the season. Mektić and Pavić won 6:7 (2), 7:6 (0), 4: 6, 6:2, 7:6 (10:4) after four hours and 22 minutes of play.
Mektić and Pavić thus achieved their 11th consecutive victory at Wimbledon and are now just one step away from defending the title.
Croatian pride and intensity ?? ?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2022
In the second semi-final, Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell also defeated Briton Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram 3.6, 6:7 (1), 7:6 (9), 6:4, 6:2 after a five-set drama. Interestingly, Ram and Salisbury had five match points in the third set, but they did not use them, and later they lost the match.
Colombians Cabal and Farah won Wimbledon in 2019, during 2020 there was no play on the London grass due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Mektić and Pavić celebrated last year at the All England Club. The last to defend the title in the doubles competition was Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian Nenad Zimonjić in 2008 and 2009.
The semi-final match was fantastic and full of twists and turns, but with many interesting points. It was an unusual match in which Pavić injured his right hand, Mektić was hit on the lip with a racket, and after the third set there was a break to close the roof, but the mechanism got stuck, and everything was prolonged.
It started great for the Croatian side. Already in the first game, they took away the service from their opponents, but the Colombians immediately retaliated by tying the game at 1:1. By the end of the set, there were no more service breaks, so the thirteenth game was decisive. Farah and Cabal led 2:0, then 4:1 and 5:2 after which the set went to their side.
During the tie-break, Pavić slipped and fell on his hand and sought medical help. Despite the pain, he continued the match, and later he almost did not use his right hand at all except to throw on the serve.
In the second set, both sides held their serves, so the decision again fell in the tie-break, which Pavić and Mektic played perfectly, without losing a point (7:0).
A new accident for the Croatian side happened in the third set at 4:3 for the Colombians. Pavić ran into Mektić with a racket and tore his lip. After finishing the game, Mektić used his mobile phone to check the condition of his teeth and lip, and then took a selfie with Pavić to the delight of the audience. Unfortunately, that set went to the Colombian side at 6:4 with a break in the last game.
After the third set, the organizers decided to close the roof, but the mechanism got stuck, and everything took longer than expected. However, the break was obviously good for the Olympic gold medalists because Pavić and Mektic quickly brought the set to an end (6:2) with two breaks, tying the match at 2:2.
In the decisive, fifth set, both sides firmly held their serves until the score was 5:4 when the Colombians reached the match point on Mektić’s serve. Fortunately, the Croatian side pulled through and took the match to a super tie-break in which the Croatian duo won seven of the next eight points after 3:3.
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