Mektic/Pavic Win Sixth Trophy Of Season In Rome
“It feels great and we’re very happy with the way we played the whole tournament,” said Pavic. “We didn’t drop a set, so it showed how well we played throughout the week. It was a tough match. There were only a couple of chances in the first set before it became tighter in the second set from 6/0 to 6/4 [in the tie-break]. I hope we can keep going.
"The goal is to qualify for the [Nitto] ATP Finals in Turin. I was hoping we’d have good results, but it has surprised me a little bit as we hadn’t played together before this year.”
Mektic added, “Mate hit some good returns in the tie-break. It was a tough second set and we struggled with the return, as this court is a little faster than the other courts. It’s been an amazing year, but we expected to do well [at the start of the year].”
Mektic, 32, and Pavic, 27, who are No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings with a 37-4 match record this year, also clinched titles at the Antalya Open (d. Dodig/Polasek), Murray River Open in Melbourne (d. Chardy/Martin), ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Krawietz/Tecau), the Miami Open presented by Itau and Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Evans/N. Skupski both times).
A lack of first serves cost Ram in the fifth game of the first set, with Mektic and Pavic breaking serve after three consecutive return winners. Ram and Salisbury made life a little uncomfortable for Pavic, when he served for the set at 5-4, but the 27-year-old held his nerve on a Deciding Deuce point. Mektic and Pavic won 90 per cent of their first-service points in the 33-minute opener.
When Pavic hit a routine forehand volley wide at 15/15 on Ram’s serve at 2-2 in the second set, the momentum started to shift. Ram and Salisbury returned better and later Pavic did well to recover from 0/30 at 5-6. The Croatians hit their first serves in a strong start to the tie-break and while Ram and Salisbury won four straight points from an 0/6 deficit, Mektic closed out with an ace.
Ram and Salisbury, who lost to Mektic and Pavic 6-3, 7-6(5) in the Miami semi-finals last month, are now 17-8 in their third season as a team. They had been attempting to capture their fourth crown (2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 2019 Erste Bank Open in Vienna, 2020 Australian Open).