© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury do not lose serve in their win against Henri Kontinen and Jan-Lennard Struff.

Ram/Salisbury Reach First Grand Slam Semi-final As A Team

American-British team moves past Kontinen and Struff

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury proved a model of consistency in their first year as a tandem in 2019, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. But at the Grand Slams, they never advanced past the quarter-finals.

The American-British team wasted no time changing that in 2020. Ram and Salisbury defeated Finland’s Henri Kontinen and German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

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The 11th seeds have won all eight sets they have played, also knocking out sixth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the third round. They are chasing their third tour-level title as a pair after triumphing in Dubai and Vienna last year.

Ram and Salisbury faced formidable foes in Kontinen, a two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion, and Struff, both of whom are big hitters. But they were quicker to the punch on many occasions, playing aggressively, while also maintaining consistency to triumph after one hour and 22 minutes without losing serve.

Ram and Salisbury will next face unseeded Kazakhs Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin, who advanced to the last four on Monday. Entering the tournament, Bublik and Kukushkin had only a 3-5 record as a pair.

On the other half of the draw, fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek cruised past Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Great Britain's Jonny O'Mara 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes. 

Dodig and Polasek showed they are a threat in their first Grand Slam as a team at Wimbledon last year, reaching the semi-finals. Despite beginning their partnership last June, they managed to qualify for November's Nitto ATP Finals.

They will next challenge Australian wild cards Max Purcell and Luke Saville, who completed a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Santiago Gonzalez and Ken Skupski in 68 minutes.