Dart and Salisbury could become first pair to win Wimbledon in 34 years

Harriet Dart (left) and Joe Salisbury in action against Kveta Peschke and Kevin Krawietz in the mixe

Harriet Dart (left) and Joe Salisbury in action against Kveta Peschke and Kevin Krawietz in the mixed doubles semi final match on centre court on day eleven of Wimbledon at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Friday July 9, 2021. - Credit: PA

Joe Salisbury and Hampstead’s Harriet Dart could become the first all-British pair in 34 years to win the Wimbledon mixed doubles title after reaching the final late on Friday. 

Salisbury and Dart had never played together in an official tournament but their partnership has been successful, beating some established teams to reach the last four.

The duo beat 2016 champions Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson in straight sets in the opening round, before wins over third seeds Wesley Koolhof and Demi Schuurs, Oliver Marach and Lyudmila Kichenok, and then Jeremy Chardy and Naomi Broady to reach this stage.

They were arguably underdogs in this semi-final on Centre Court, taking on ninth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Kveta Peschke- both of whom have won Grand Slam doubles titles in the past. 

Yet, in a thrilling conclusion to Day 11 action at the All-England Club, the British duo prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in just shy of two hours to reach the final.

It will be a fourth Grand Slam final for Putney born-and-bred Salisbury and a third this year after reaching the men’s doubles final at the Australian Open and winning the mixed doubles at Roland Garros, whilst Dart will be making her maiden appearance at that stage.

Krawietz and Peschke fought back in the second set, but Salisbury believes that he and Dart knew their potential and were grateful for a loud Centre Court rallying behind them.

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“I think we knew if we could both raise our game a little bit then that would be good enough. They played better in the second set, so then we knew that we had to raise our level again. I think we dropped off a little bit but there wasn’t anything tactically to change, we just played a little bit better in the third set,” he said.

“It was an amazing finish to the match. The crowd were amazing, it was loud in there with the roof closed for the third set. We’re just excited to be in the final.”

Dart added: “It was an amazing atmosphere out there. Loads of people stayed out there for us. I am just happy that we could perform well and that we are into the finals. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to play on Sunday and play for the title.”

If the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini is lengthy, it is possible that the mixed doubles final may clash with the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley.

Though the focus is on their final, Salisbury is hopeful to be off court by the time the football kicks off at 8.00pm.

“It would be annoying if it clashed. I was joking earlier that if it is during the final, they might have to put the match on the big screens on Centre Court whilst we are playing. 

“If it comes to that, we’re happy to be in the final and that’s more important for us right now, but hopefully we can get on before it starts and we can finish before the football starts!”

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