With a mixed doubles victory, Joe Salisbury puts an end to Britain’s French Open drought.
With victory in the mixed doubles partnered American Desirae Krawczyk, Joe Salisbury became the first British Open champion in one of the major draws in 39 years.
Salisbury felt a little ashamed to be in the final after he and Krawczyk were handed a walkover in the previous four, but they earned it by defeating Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev of Russia 2-6 6-4 10-5.
Salisbury has now won two grand slam titles, following in the footsteps of John Lloyd, who won the mixed doubles at Roland Garros with Australian Wendy Turnbull in 1982.
Salisbury won the Australian Open men’s doubles gold with another American, Rajeev Ram, last year, and this is Krawczyk’s first grand slam triumph.
“I think especially way the match went today mainly because they murdered us in the first set, and I think it was a mix of us getting better, then they reduced their level a bit, and I think it was a mix of us getting better, then they reduced their level a bit,” Salisbury said.
“I think we’ve just gone into it relaxed the whole week, enjoying ourselves and seeing what happens,” she says. We’ve won a grand slam championship. We weren’t anticipating something like this. It comes as a bit of a surprise.”
In the first set, Vesnina and Karatsev were clearly the better team, but Salisbury and Krawczyk stayed up with their opponents in the second and then took advantage when Karatsev went off the boil.
Salisbury and Krawczyk sat down in their chairs, believing they had served an ace to secure the match, only to be sent back onto the court by umpire Carlos Ramos, who had ruled the British player’s serve was out.
Salisbury fought the Portuguese official vigorously, and when play resumed, he soon served a double fault, but he held his composure to clinch a third set point.
Throughout the tie-break, Salisbury and Krawczyk maintained their momentum, earning their first match point when Karatsev threw a return wide.
Salisbury admitted that refocusing was difficult. (This is a brief piece.)