The Wimbledon champions open the Red Group with authority
Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski underlined their status as heavyweights at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. The second seeds made a strong debut at the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals, beating Australian debutants Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-4 to mark the ground in the Red Group.
The current Wimbledon champions exhibited their ease on the big stages to capture the first match in the round robin in two sets, leaving their candidacy towards the semifinals straight as soon as they came into contact with the competition.
The victory allows Koolhof/Skupski to dominate 3-1 in the Lexus ATP Head2Head history against the Aussie pair. After being surprised at the Australian Open by the surprising champions of the first Grand Slam of the year, the Dutch and British responded solidly at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami and on the grass at Wimbledon to finish taking control of the rivalry in Turin.
Koolhof and Skupski are one of the five couples who choose to close the season as ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by Pepperstone in Turin, where they reached the semifinals in the last edition. The Dutch and British aspire to achieve this milestone for the second consecutive season, something unprecedented on the circuit since the Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan linked their last reigns in 2013-14.
After a stellar 2022 season in which they collected seven trophies as a couple, Wesley and Neal have drawn up a solid 2023 campaign in which they have crossed off pending objectives. With a balance of 48-21 head to head, the Dutch and British won their first Grand Slam trophy together at The Championships and went on to play in five finals (2-3), being one step away from their fourth ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells .
Koolhof will try to take advantage of his experience in the tournament to return to the throne. The Dutchman, with three accumulated appearances, lifted the title in his debut alongside Croatian Nikola Mektic in the 2020 season, crowning the last edition held in London. Skupski marks the second presence of his career in the event after sealing consecutive classifications with the help of his current teammate.
On Monday afternoon, defending champions Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury will face debutants Rohan Bopanna/Matthew Ebden to complete the first day of competition in the Red Group.
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