Wimbledon: Skupski/Rae save a match point; shocks Mirnyi/Makarova to reach quarterfinals

Ken Skupski and Jocelyn Rae, the wildcard pairing defeated the experienced Max Mirnyi and Ekaterina Makarova 5-7, 6-4, 9-7 to advance to the mixed doubles quarterfinals at Wimbledon

Mirnyi/Makarova claim the first set

Max Mirnyi got the contest off with a hold of serve to love. He and Makarova then grabbed two early break points on the Ken Skupski serve. An ace out wide followed by an unreturnable serve sent the game to deuce with the British pair going on to hold serve and level 1-1. Makarova held her serve before applying pressure to Jocelyn Rae, the final player to hold their first serve.

Up love-30, Makarova put away a neat volley at the net to bring up triple break point chances. Rae saved one with a second serve ace but she and Skupski fell behind with the Russian again putting away a neat volley, showing great positioning, 1-3. The Belarussian consolidated serve to take a healthy 1-4 lead.

The wildcarded pair continued to cause trouble and whilst not having much luck, that began to change with the 12th seeds serving for the set at 5-4. All square at 30-all, all four players gathered at the net, Skupski grabbed that all important break back point to the delight of the crowd. But Mirnyi fired an unreturnable serve to the body of Skupski to save the break point and send the game to deuce.

But moments later, a second arrived for the British pair, which they took before consolidating for 5-5. The 12th seeds after a long game went ahead again, 5-6 to put the pressure on the Brits. Having had one set point saved, Mirnyi and Makarova put away their second to go up 5-7.

Skupski/Rae grab only break to send the match to a decider

To begin the set, all four players on the court held their serve with the score all level at 2-2. Mirnyi and Makarova who had dealt with what the wild cards had thrown at them, then began to falter as two break points went on offer.

An unreturnable serve out wide did the job only briefly as they showed good defense with Makarova netting on the next point to go down a break 3-2. Skupski and Rae consolidated the serve to love for 4-2. The pair then continued that fine run of form to bring up a double break point chance.

Ken Skupski, Jocelyn Rae, Max Mirnyi and Ekaterina Makarova all in shot (Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Ken Skupski, Jocelyn Rae, Max Mirnyi and Ekaterina Makarova all in shot (Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

However, they were denied and the 12th seeds got out of a tricky game to hold for 4-3. The 26-year-old British woman held her serve to go within a game of leveling the match. Mirnyi, who got broken earlier in the match held his serve this time, to love which instantly put pressure on the serving player, Ken Skupski.

They held their nerves confidently, going on to earn two set points at 15-40 with Rae perfectly timing a volley. The 34-year-old Liverpudlian got tight and served up a double-fault but he and Rae took the second set 6-4 with Makarova sending a lob long.

British wild cards defeat the twelfth seeds to advance 

With the final set underway, the first five games went with serve but the set started to open up in the sixth game with Skupski serving down 2-3. The 34-year-old went down the line but the Russian read it to perfection, struck a return forehand down the line to bring up two set points. The British wild cards sent the game to deuce but the twelfth seeds continued to pile on the pressure and brought up a third break.

This time, they broke with Rae sending a volley wide. But the pair didn't get discouraged and immediately broke back with their second opportunity before going on to consolidate to turn the match round and level at 4-4.

Just the two games later, the British pair were under severe pressure with the team of Mirnyi/Makarova taken the pair to deuce on three occasions but Skupski served an ace to get the team out of trouble, 5-5. Both teams continued to pile the pressure on one another with the next four serves going with the server, 7-7.

But the British pair piled on the severe pressure to their opponents, going on to have two break points at 15-40 much to the delight of the Court One crowd. Despite having one break saved, they broke and were left serving for the match. The pair then saved a break point but also missed two match points of their own. On the third, Makarova sent a shot long with the crowd erupting in mighty cheers.