Ram/Salisbury Retain US Open Crown
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury successfully defended their US Open crown Friday, when they overcame second seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 7-6(4), 7-5 to win their third Grand Slam title as a team.
In a showdown on Arthur Ashe Stadium that determined who finished the tournament as the individual No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, it was the top seeds who stepped up and delivered.
Briton Salisbury, who has now won 11 tour-level titles, will remain as the World No. 1 following the victory. Skupski would have passed his countryman and climbed to top spot had he lifted his seventh tour-level trophy of the year and first major trophy with Dutchman Koolhof.
Ram and Salisbury closed the net effectively, attacked second serves and rallied from 1/4 in the first-set tie-break to eventually triumph after one hour and 57 minutes and improve to 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“I really don’t have any words,” Ram said during the trophy ceremony. “I got to come here the first year this stadium opened and play Arthur Ashe Kids' Day when I was 14 and I watched Sampras win this tournament. I watched James [Blake] play an amazing match against Andre Agassi in 2005. I watched Andy Roddick win this tournament and Venus and Serena. To be a small part of that as an American, I don’t even know what to say. Thank you guys so much for coming out.”
With their victory, the American-British tandem has become the second team, after Koolhof and Skupski, to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in November. They are also just the second team to defend their crown in New York. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde captured the trophy in 1995 and 1996.
“It is pretty crazy. I can’t quite believe it that we are standing here again,” Salisbury said. “It is so, so special to be playing in this incredible stadium in front of all of you. To have that piece of history, winning this twice in a row is amazing.”
In a tight first set, break point opportunities were limited as both teams performed strongly on serve. Ram and Salisbury won 88 per cent (21/24) of points behind their first delivery and found an extra gear when needed, winning six points in a row from 1/4 in the tie-break to lead.
Skupski blasted a return winner to give the second seeds an early break at the start of the second set, but the top seeds responded immediately to level at 2-2. Ram and Salisbury continued to go on the attack and broke again in the 12th game to seal their victory.
Ram and Salisbury, who edged Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah to reach the championship match, leave Flushing Meadows holding a 17-2 record at the event and a 31-12 record on the season. The 2020 Australian Open champions lifted ATP Masters 1000 trophies in Monte Carlo and Cincinnati, while they advanced to semi-finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.