Hijikata/Purcell Clinch Tokyo Title

  • Posted: Oct 22, 2023

Hijikata/Purcell Clinch Tokyo Title

Australians were teaming for first time this week

Rinky Hijikata and Max Purcell capped a dream debut week as a team on Sunday at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships, where they defeated Jamie Murray and Michael Venus 6-4, 6-1 to win the title.

The Australians upset third seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer to reach the championship match and backed up that standout win with a dominant display against Murray and Venus. Hijikata and Purcell saved both break points they faced and were impressive on return, winning 47 per cent (28/59) of points on Murray and Venus’ delivery to seal victory after 73 minutes.

It has been good,” Hijikata said. “It was the first time pairing together in doubles and I think we got better as the week went on. We enjoy playing with each other and I feel we played some really good tennis.”

With their title run, Hijikata and Purcell became the first Australian team to win the Tokyo doubles title since Jordan Kerr triumphed with Swede Robert Lindstedt in 2007.

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Hijikata, 22, holds a 2-1 tour-level record in doubles finals, while Purcell improved to 4-6 in title matches. Sunday’s triumph was Purcell’s first crown on hard courts. The 25-year-old won Wimbledon earlier this year with Matthew Ebden.

Murray and Venus are eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings as they seek a qualification spot at the Nitto ATP Finals. They may need to finish in the Top 7 to clinch a spot in Turin, though, as 17th-placed Hijikata and Jason Kubler triumphed at the Australian Open in January. If they finish inside the Top 20, they will qualify having won a Grand Slam title in 2023.

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