Easy At The Top!: Ram/Salisbury Clinch Monte Carlo Crown
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury cemented their new status as the world’s top-ranked doubles pairing on Sunday with a pulsating 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 victory over Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
The American-British duo overcame stubborn resistance from sixth seeds Cabal and Farah at the ATP Masters 1000 event, producing an all-round display to prevail in a match that saw all four players maintain a high level throughout.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Salisbury in the pair’s on-court interview. “I’m so happy right now. It’s a first title on clay together, on a surface that we always thought was a weaker one for us. [We have] not done too well here before, but we’ve been working really hard, and we knew we could play well. [I am] just so happy that it’s come together and to get the win here.”
“I got the best player in the world on my team, that helps!” added Ram when asked about the secrets to the pair’s success. “It’s our fourth year together, we have great chemistry, we work really well together on and off the court. I think it shows in matches like this, we can piece together a good effort and give ourselves a competitive chance.”
Clinching a second ATP Masters 1000 crown with Ram caps a dream week for 29-year-old Salisbury, who reached No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday. He and Ram showed off some of the skills that have made them the world’s top-ranked pairing, combining strong serving and rock-solid net play with imaginative returning to clinch victory in one hour, 38 minutes.
Neither team gave much away in a tight opening set that featured some entertaining back-and-forth at the net, but it was top seeds Ram and Salisbury who edged ahead after clinching the only break of the set in the seventh game.
Two-time Masters 1000 champions Cabal and Farah were never far away from their higher-ranked opponents and ramped up the pressure in the second set. All four players continued to strike the ball cleanly, but it was the Colombians who secured a crucial break with a sudden-death deciding point for 5-3 before serving out to level the match.
The teams had come through a Match Tie-break apiece on their way to the championship clash, but it was the top-seeded pairing who found something extra at crucial moments to clinch a maiden clay-court title together, with Salisbury crashing a forehand winner down the middle to trigger the celebrations on Court Rainier III.
The win improves Ram and Salisbury’s record in tour-level finals to 6-8, with the duo having also clinched Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open in 2020 and the US Open last year. They now lead Cabal and Farah 5-1 in the ATP Head2Head series between the two teams. Sunday’s final was the first time they had met in the 2022 season and was their first encounter on clay.
Ram and Salisbury, who lifted their maiden Masters 1000 title at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto last year, are now looking forward to hunting further success on the clay in 2022.
“It’s huge,” said Salisbury. “I feel like the past seasons that we’ve played [on clay] we’ve taken a while to get into it, but it’s massive getting the win here. We know we can play really well and really looking forward to the rest of the events.”