To emulate the ‘Special Ks’, Australian wildcards storm into the men’s doubles final

The 21-year-old reached out to Kubler about six months ago to see if he would play with him at the Australian Open, nearly a decade after the then-professional-wannabe trekked to the North Shore Open to meet his future doubles partner in to see action.

Kubler, now 29, was just the best junior in the world at the time and had the tennis world at his feet, unaware of all the challenges he would face in the years to come, especially with his knees.

He reached the mixed doubles final with fellow Australian Jaimee Fourlis in 2022 but hopes to go one better and win the title this time.

“Just the thought that we might win is pretty surreal, to be honest,” said Kubler.

“It’s good that we have a day off in between, just so we can probably enjoy this moment a little bit more and then refocus…but I’m also super excited now for what the future holds.”

“Our rankings are going up a good bit now and we can actually play the other Slams together. It’s great what we’re doing here, but now we can look forward to Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open and even the Aussie Open next year.

“A new team is formed. I’m probably more looking forward to that.”

The result caps Kubler’s incredible career rebound, which includes reaching the last 16 in singles at Wimbledon last year and achieving a career high of 84th.

Hijikata had a whirlwind of his own for a few months, winning a set against Rafael Nadal at the US Open last year.

He also bounced back from two sets down to win his Australian Open first round match last week before playing Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rod Laver Arena.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride for a year,” Hijikata said.

“I think around this time last year I was still debating whether or not I should go back to college. I think maybe I made the right choice when I go on tour.”

The Australians will face Frenchman Hugo Nys and Poland’s Jan Zielinski in Saturday’s final.

Watch the Australian Open live on Channel Nine, 9Gem and 9Now.

For daily updates on all tennis action throughout the Australian Open, Sign up for our sports newsletter here. To emulate the ‘Special Ks’, Australian wildcards storm into the men’s doubles final

Ryan Sederquist

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