Ken and Neal Skupski clinched the ATP Challenger doubles title of the €85,000 Slovak Open. The British siblings defeated the all-Indian-combination of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 on Saturday evening.
The Skupskis sent down 12 aces, winning the encounter in 67 minutes. Ken, however, was forced to take an early medical time-out in the beginning of the match, getting some treatment at his neck.
“It was a very unusual match today. You play well to get to the final and play great matches all through the week but waking up this morning, I didn’t feel so well with my neck, so we really didn’t know what to do,” Ken Skupski explained.
“I had tablets before the match and so I felt a bit less pain but I just had to change a few things when I was playing. I didn’t use the same technique as normal but I did what I could.
“We were fortunate keeping involved in the match and we managed to break in the second set. It’s difficult for them guys to play against us. We know each other pretty well but we tried to keep holding our serve and take chances when we got the opportunities. We were fortunate to do so today.”
The fouth seeds captured their fourth title on the ATP Challenger Tour this season after they had lifted the trophies together in Bergamo, Cherbourg and St. Remy. The siblings take away €5,250 in prize money as well as 110 ATP Ranking points.
“It has gone really well. We started the year pretty well in Italy and France. It has been a consistent year so far and we hope that we can build on it next year. Hopefully we can enter a few more tournaments on the ATP World Tour as well as Slams to push on and break the Top 50 mark,” told Neal about the goals for 2017. “We want to keep progressing and not to stay on the Challenger Circuit for too long.”
The tandem is curently ranked at No. 88 in the ATP Race and maybe could also benefit from Great Britain’s tennis success stories in recent times with Andy Murray making it to the top of the singles ranking as well as his brother Jamie, who was the World No. 1 in doubles in April this year.
“Great Britain has two great players in singles and doubles. Great family. We look up to them guys. They play great doubles together in the Davis Cup. It has always been a goal for us trying to get there one day. It’s obviously tough when you play against the top teams but we get the opportunity we have to try and take it. We feel we can do,” said Ken, who is ranked at No. 79.
Neal, the world No. 88 in the doubles ranking, is going to play two more tournaments in Italy, competing at the ATP Challengers in Andria and Bresci. “Ken’s ranking is a bit higher at the moment and I will try to catch him up a little bit. I will play there with Marin Draganja and Wesley Koolhof, which will hopefully put a few points in the board and I am trying to maybe overtake him by the end of the year.”
For his part, by winning the Slovak Open, Ken has closed the season. “I have two kids, so it’s time for family now,” he added with a smile.