No.2 seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski sealed a successful title defense at Wimbledon, defeating Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden, 6-4, 6-3 in the mixed doubles final. The title is Krawczyk's fourth mixed doubles title, having won Roland Garros (w/ Joe Salisbury), Wimbledon (w/ Skupski), and the US Open (w/ Salisbury) last year.
Despite being defending champions, Krawczyk and Skupski were a last-minute pairing at The Championships, as both players were originally set to play with different partners. But the reunion proved fruitful once again, as the duo became the first team to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles since Helena Sukova and Cyril Suk won in 1996 and 1997. Krawczyk also became the first American woman to repeat as mixed doubles champion at Wimbledon since Billie Jean King in 1973 and 1974.
"I was set [to play with] Gaby Dabrowski, Desirae was set with Joe Salisbury,' Skupski said. "A couple weeks before the tournament, I think Joe decided he didn't want to play mixed." With Salisbury wanting to focus on men's doubles, Krawczyk reached out to Skupski to see if he was free.
"To try to defend the title with someone you won it with the year before is something I wanted to do personally. It was very special to do that at Wimbledon."
Krawczyk and Skupski made good on their No.2 seeding throughout the fortnight, earning wins over Asia Muhammad and Thansi Kokkinakis, Ellen Perez and Matwe Middelkoop, No.7 Jelena Ostapenko and Robert Farah and No.6 Sania Mirza and Mate Pavic, before sealing the title over the Australians in the final.
Having come back from a set and a break down to Mirza and Pavic in the semifinals, Krawczyk and Skupski were determined to avoid any unnecessary drama in the final. With Stosur already a three-time mixed doubles champion herself, Stosur and Ebden were looking to become the first all-Australian team to win the mixed doubles at Wimbledon since John Fitzgerald and Luz Smylie in 1991.
But it wasn't to be for the Australians, as the defending champions went three for three on break point chances while wiping out four of the five break point chances they faced on their own serves. In a pivotal early game at 2-2 in the first set, Skupski came through a 26-point service game by saving two break points. The teams held their serves until the ultimate game of the set when, serving at 4-5, Ebden was broken at 15.
Ebden and Stosur looked primed for a comeback early in the second set, as a double-fault from Krawczyk gave the Australians a 2-1 lead. But the No.2 seeds broke Stosur quickly in the next game to level at 2-2 and then broke Ebden at love to build a 4-2 advantage. After Krawczyk consolidated the break with a love hold, Skupski coolly served out the match after 1 hour and 27 minutes.
"I was telling Neal, on the court I wasn't really nervous. For me that's kind of a bad sign a little bit," Krawczyk said. "But I think when it got to 5-2, I was kind of feeling it. I was like, Oh, my gosh, we're kind of getting to the end. Until that match point, it's not over till it's over. You have to keep pushing, playing it out.
"I think the crowd was great today. It was such a great atmosphere. Yeah, it was a great day."
Krawczyk, who sits at No.14 on the Hologic WTA Tour doubles rankings, is also in the women's doubles semifinal with Danielle Collins. The American team will face top seeds Elise Mertens and Zhang Shuai on Friday. The other semifinal features No.2 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova against No.4 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.