It won’t work for Joran Vliegen. Last year he lost the final at Roland Garros in the mixed doubles with Norway’s Ulrike Ikere, and this year he lost with Sander Jelly in the final in Paris.
It seemed impossible beforehand that he would succeed at Wimbledon. With his regular partner, he wasn’t signed up for the mixed doubles, so he desperately knocked on China’s Yu Xifan’s door last Wednesday.
They never trained together, they never spoke to each other, but they still made it to the final. For the third time in two years, Jöran Fliegen was in a Grand Slam final.
Flygin and Xu Yifan can dream of a long adventure against Croatian Mate Pavic and Ukrainian seventh seed Lyudmila Kitsenok. In the second set, they eliminated a championship point and managed to force a decisive set with a fourth set point.
Vliegen and his Chinese partner clung on 3-3. One break proved fatal. Matt Pavić, who already has three Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold in doubles, has now also claimed his third mixed doubles title.
“I really believed in him,” said Jöran Vliegen after losing the final. “We knew we had a tough opponent in front of us, but in mixed doubles you never know.”
“After the first set, we tried to turn the tide. We also managed a crazy tie breaker that we’ve been pulling. We hoped we’d have the momentum in our favour. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
However, the Belgian does not want to blame himself or his partner. “There were very hot returns in the games they served us. In the end there was nothing we could do about it, but it was still very bad.”
“This tournament breathes history and is iconic. When you’re so close to it, you just want to win the title.”
“The circumstances were completely different,” says Vliegen of his Center Court debut. “Private doubles is often played on outdoor courts, where the court is small and the game is fast. Then all of a sudden you end up on a very large court, so you have to play tennis differently.”
“You should be able to check it out, but it doesn’t always work. However, when I left the field, I looked back. Not many people can say they played on center field.”
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