Purcell and Hijikata defeat third seeds to reach Japan Open doubles final
Australia’s Max Purcell and Rinky Hijikata will play in the doubles final of the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.
It was not the night that Australians were hoping for with the singles draw in Tokyo, but Max Purcell and Rinky Hijikata led the way in the doubles semifinals with a three-set win.
The Sydney duo advanced to their first ATP tournament final together after recording a 3-6 6-3 [10-4] win over the third seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Jean-Julien Rojer from the Netherlands.
The road to the final hasn’t been easy for the Australians, who also lost the opening set in their first two rounds of the tournament but managed to fight back against Japanese combinations on both occasions.
Hijikata and Purcell will face the winner of Great Britain’s Jamie Murray and New Zealand’s Michael Venus, and their American opponents Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, for the title.
It is 25-year-old Purcell’s fourth ATP doubles final appearance of the season and 22-year-old Hijikata’s third.
In the singles quarterfinals, Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popyrin both succumbed to inspired opponents.
De Minaur’s hot streak came to an end, being outplayed by a resurgent Aslan Karatsev 6-3 6-2.
Karatsev will meet the hometown hero Shintaro Mochizuki in the semifinals, as the Japanese wildcard’s miracle run continued with a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory against Australian Alexei Popyrin.
Popyrin had control for most of the match, winning more points (103-94) and firing off a total of 21 aces compared to Mochizuki’s four.
Unfortunately, he could not take any of his five break point chances in the third set and fell short of a semifinal berth.
Aussies in action – Tokyo
Men’s doubles, semifinals
Max Purcell (AUS)/Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d  Marcelo Arevalo (ESA)/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) 3-6 6-3 [10-4]
Men’s singles, quarterfinals
Aslan Karatsev d  Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3 6-2
Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-5 2-6 7-5
Men’s doubles, final
Max Purcell (AUS)/Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v TBC
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