Ram Upsets Karlovic For Second Newport Crown

Rajeev Ram saves match points in two matches en route to winning Newport title

Rajeev Ram won his second ATP World Tour title in Newport, beating second seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2) at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Sunday.

The American, who saved one match point to oust top seed John Isner in the first round and saved two match points to beat fifth seed Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals, earned $84,250 and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points. Ram is the second player to win an ATP World Tour title having saved a match point (also Denis Istomin, Nottingham).

“To say that I felt like I’d be the winner at the end of the week… I had no idea,” said Ram, who will move into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. “The first win was more elation, this one is more satisfaction just because I did it again.”

The 31-year-old Ram clinched the opening set in 54-minutes after Karlovic sent a volley into the net in the eventual tie-break. The Croat stormed back, serving seven aces in the second set and capitalising on one of his four break points to level the match.

The third set would go to a tie-break, which saw Ram race ahead and earn four championship points. Karlovic sent a volley into the net, sealing the win for the American after two hours and 23 minutes.

Ram ended a three-year American title drought in the Rhode Island city as he became the third American to win multiple titles at this ATP World Tour grass-court event (also John Isner 2011-12 and Bryan Shelton 1991-92).

The Denver native, who won the crown at the Guadalajara Challenger in April, became the fourth player to win titles on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour this year, joining Victor Estrella Burgos, Jiri Vesely and Nicolas Mahut in doing so.

Playing in his 14th ATP World Tour final, Karlovic, who was bidding for his seventh tour-level title, finishes as runner-up in Newport for a second straight year (l. to Hewitt in 2014). The Croat earned $44,370 and 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points.

“It was a difficult match,” said Karlovic. “In the end, he was a little bit better. Like last year, it was a really tight match. I could have won both years. There’s always next year.”