The first champions at 2023 Wimbledon were decided on Thursday, where No.7 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Mate Pavic of Croatia defeated China's Xu Yifan and Belgium's Joran Vliegen 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3 to win the mixed doubles title.

Kichenok and Pavic needed 2 hours and 7 minutes to outlast Xu and Vliegen after the unseeded pair saved a championship point in the second-set tiebreak and forced a third set. Kichenok and Pavic regrouped in the final set to take the champions' trophy under the closed roof of Centre Court.

It is the first Grand Slam title of any type for 30-year-old Kichenok, a former Top 10 player in doubles who is currently ranked World No.15. This was the first Grand Slam final of her career as well.

Former ATP Doubles World No.1 Pavic, also 30, now has three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles to go with his three Grand Slam men's doubles titles. His previous mixed doubles major titles came at the 2016 US Open with Laura Siegemund and the 2018 Australian Open with Gabriela Dabrowski.

"It feels amazing to be Wimbledon champion in mixed doubles," Kichenok said in their post-match press conference. "I really enjoyed playing with Mate. He's a great player. ... It was really a great time for me the past ten days.

"We both are just working hard on our game every day. We both are trying to play aggressive. On grass it especially works really well. That's the key. It worked for us this tournament."

Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Both teams had saved match points en route to the final. Xu and Vliegen erased three match points in their first-round upset of defending champions Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski. Kichenok and Pavic fended off a match point in their three-tiebreak second-round win over Bernarda Pera and Nikola Mektic, Pavic's men's doubles partner.

In Thursday's final, neither Kichenok nor Pavic ever dropped serve, but they were still pushed to the limit by Xu and Vliegen. Vliegen saved a championship point at 8-7 in the second-set tiebreak with a sturdy overhead, and he and Xu converted their fourth set point in the tiebreak to send the match into a decider.

However, Pavic and Kichenok took charge in the third set, breaking Xu's service for a 5-3 lead behind a cluster of powerful Pavic forehands. In the following game, a Kichenok volley winner set up their second championship point, and the Ukrainian converted that chance with one final overhead.