By Glenys Furness
- Neal Skupski takes Challenger title without brother Ken
- Jonathan Erlich & Skupski were seeded third
APTOS, CALIFORNIA, USA – Neal Skupski claims doubles title without brother Ken, Israeli Jonathan Erlich partnered the Brit, seeded third.
Neal Skupski teamed up at the Aptos Challenger in California with Jonathan Erlich as Ken Skupski remained in Britain. The Brit/Israeli pairing were seeded three and in the first round they drew the only other pairing involving a Brit. Luke Bambridge & David O’Hare were a wildcard pairing in the event, in the first set the third seeds secured the break early and Bambridge & O’Hare could not strike back. The second set was much easier for Skupski & Erlich as they only lost two games to move forward 6-3, 6-2.
The quarter final had the Brit/Israeli against the qualifiers Jason Jung & Darian King. Skupski and Erlich didn’t get the start they wanted as they were broken right at the end of the set, just as it appeared to be heading towards a tiebreak. In the second set the third seeds managed to step up their game and secured the break back, forcing a match tiebreak to decide the semi finalists. Skupski and Erlich edged the breaker though to move into the next round 5-7, 6-4, 13-11.
In the semi final the Brit/Israeli pair were up against Ruben Bemelmans & Joris De Loore, the Belgians had made the main draw as lucky losers. As such they had nothing to lose against the third seeds, and started with a tempo the seeds could not match. Once again Skupski & Erlich lost the first set after being broken early, however the second set went the way of the Brit/Israeli as they secured the break and the match headed to a tiebreak to settle who would make the final. Just like the previous round this was a very close breaker with the seeds edging the match tiebreak to get to the final 3-6, 6-4, 12-10.
The final saw the third seeds against the fourth seeds Alex Bolt & Jordan Thompson the Australians found the going tough in the first set, with the Brit/Israeli breaking to seal the set. The second set did not go the way Skupski & Erlich would have liked as the Australians broke early and levelled the match, once again it would be a match tiebreak to decide the winners. Not as tight as the others played during the event the third seeds secured the victory over the Australians 6-3, 2-6, 10-8.
Doubles Round Up
- Jamie Murray with Bruno Soares lost in the second round in Montreal.
- Johanna Konta with Elina Svitolina lost in the first round in Toronto.
- Joe Salisbury with Johan Brunstrom lost in the first round in Portoroz.
- Scott Clayton & Jonny O’Mara lost in the first round in Portoroz.
Next week Brits play in Cincinnati, Vancouver & Meerbusch.
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