Paris (AP) – The Paris specialists Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies are only separated by one victory from their renewed title coup at the French Open.
“Motivated to the tips of their hair”, last year’s winners defied all adverse circumstances in the coronavirus crisis and once again made it into the final of the double competition. Their strong performance in the semifinals raised the hope that they could celebrate another Grand Slam title on Saturday.
“It’s not that easy to put into words. Of course it’s incredibly emotional now,” said Krawietz after the 6: 3, 7: 5 against the US Open finalists Wesley Koolhof / Nikola Mektic from the Netherlands and Croatia.
In the final on Saturday, the two German Davis Cup players also want to take the last step. Opponents of the 28-year-old Coburg Krawietz and the two-year-old Cologne tennis professional Mies are then the US Open winners Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares. The Croatian-Brazilian doubles prevailed against the number one seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal / Robert Farah.
The chances for the Germans should still be good if they appear as clever and impressively self-confident as in the semifinals, in which they used their first match point and managed the only break of the round to 7-5 to zero in the second set. “Chapeau from me. A lot of respect,” said Eurosport expert Boris Becker. “Just having the chance to defend the title is incredibly strong.”
Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin was also strong among the women. The American beat the two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic 6: 4, 7: 5 and can now win a Grand Slam tournament for the second time this year. The final on Saturday will be played by the 21-year-old Kenin against the Polish outsider Iga Swiatek, who defeated the Argentinian qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6: 2, 6: 1 in the surprise semi-final.
Krawietz and Mies were also tennis nobodies during their fairytale run in spring 2019; since Gottfried von Cramm and Henner Henkel 82 years earlier, no purely German double had won a Grand Slam title.
Because only a few spectators are allowed, this time it will be “something completely different,” said Mies. “Last year we had 56 men in the pits in the final. Now we have to see how many more we can fly in for Saturday,” said the man from Cologne. “It still feels just as nice to be back in the final, and we won’t celebrate less if it works.” Even without a large fan group, they are ultimately “motivated to the tip of their hair”.
That was also noticeable in the semi-finals. The German duo managed to break in the first game of the first set, which lasted ten minutes (!). After the quick 2: 0, Mies also had difficulties with his serve when the score was 2: 1, but then secured the point to 3: 1 with a soulful stop after 25 minutes. With the second break, the two German Davis Cup players got the first set, half of the way to the final was done.
Except for the round of 16, the duo played confidently at this year’s French Open. Only against the French Benjamin Bonzi / Antoine Hoang had to tremble and fend off three match points. They ended the semi-final against Koolhof and Mektic after 1:26 hours, staying in the so-called bubble even longer and not wanting to be stopped by the special circumstances. “After two weeks in the bubble you have to get creative with the food at the buffet. You have to try to mix again,” said Mies. “Some things are a bit monotonous. But as long as we win, I don’t care.”