By Glenys Furness
- Neal & Ken Skupski win title in Bratislava
- Claim third title in same event in four years
- Brothers only dropped one set en route
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA – Neal & Ken Skupski claim their third title in four years in the Slovakian capital. Edged the second seeds in first round and didn’t drop a set until the final.
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Neal & Ken Skupski were unseeded in Bratislava and were also the defending champions. The Brits drew the second seeds in the first round. Hans Podlipnik-Castillo & Andrei Vasilevski went in the match as favourites on paper, however the defending champions were not going to make things easy.
Both sets were very tight, with the Brits staying with the second seeds and forcing a tiebreak in each set. The first set saw the Brits edge the tiebreak, before outplaying the Belarus/Chilean pairing in the second. The second seeds did not get a look in as the Skupski brothers dominated to take the match 7-6(5), 7-6(0).
In the quarter-final the Brits were due to face Norbert Gombos & Lukas Lacko, however the Slovaks withdrew from the match before it started to hand the brothers a walkover into the semi-final. Lacko went on to win the title in the singles.
The semi-final saw the Skupskis against Johan Brunstrom & Kevin Krawietz. The Brits once again were forced into a tiebreak in the first set which they edged. In the second set the Brits managed to break the serve of the Swede/German and closed out the match in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-4.
In the final the defending champions faced another unseeded pairing of Sander Arends & Antonio Sancic. The Brits serve was broken for the first time right at the end of the first set, with the Dutch/Serb pairing taking the set. The Skupski brothers were not to be beaten though and the second set saw the fightback, the Brits broke serve and levelled up. A match tiebreak would decide the winners, with the Brits edging Arends/Sancic to claim the title 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
The Bratislava challenger has been very good hunting ground for Brits, with the Skupski brothers appearing in the final in the last four years, with only 2015 being the one they missed out on. Back in 2010 Jamie Murray & Colin Fleming won the title, and in 2006 Murray was runner up with Jordan Kerr.
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Doubles Round Up
Emily Appleton with Majo Portillo won the title in Colombia 6-3, 7-6(2)
Naomi Broady with Monique Adamczak lost in the semi-final of Hua Hin 4-6, 1-6
Tara Moore with Conny Perrin lost in the first round of Limoges 3-6, 4-6
Liam Broady & Marcus Willis lost in the quarter-final of Knoxville 5-7, 0-6
Joe Salisbury with Ruan Roelofse lost in the semi-final of Knoxville 6-7(4), 3-6
Cameron Norrie with Roberto Maytin lost in the semi-final of Knoxville 4-6, 2-6
Luke Bambridge with David O’Hare lost in the first round of Knoxville 6-7(8), 3-6
Next week Brits play in Taipei, Champaign-Urbana, Pune, Dakar & Oslo
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