© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram pick up their first win in Group Jonas Bjorkman at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Salisbury/Ram Edge Match Tie-Break For First Group Win In London

Aggressive late play help British/American team to victory

Fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury earned a confidence-boosting Match Tie-break win on Tuesday for improve to 1-1 in Group Jonas Bjorkman round-robin play. Ram and Salisbury avenged their loss to eighth-seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek two weeks ago at the Rolex Paris Masters with a 6-3, 3-6 10-6 victory in 78 minutes.

“It’s so special to be here and get the win today,” Salisbury said. “We had to fight so hard. Rajeev was amazing, like he was in the first match, and I managed to get there and raise my level in the end.”

“I know I’m not a Brit, but I’m happy to be here and take in all the support you’re giving for my boy,” Ram said. It was a few points here or there. We really stuck together as a team and I think that’s why we got the win.”

They improve to a 39-23 match record on the season, including two ATP Tour titles at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. McLachlan/Struff) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. Kubot/Melo).

Dodig and Polasek made the first move, breaking Salisbury’s serve for a 3-1 advantage when Dodig’s backhand return was left by Salisbury but landed inside the baseline. When serving for the first set at 5-3, Dodig recovered from 0/40, saving four break points with solid serving. The 33-minute opener ended with a service winner.

Ram and Salisbury took a 4-2 lead with Dodig mis-timed a jump smash in the second set and three games later, Salisbury poached a forehand volley in a love hold for Ram.

Ram and Salisbury got off to a fast start in the Match Tie-break, moving to a 3/0 lead. While Dodig and Polasek recovered to 5/5, it was the dynamic play of Salisbury that made the difference and ay 9/6, Polasek hit a backhand volley into the net.

Dodig and Polasek, who lost to second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 10-5 in a Match Tie-break on Saturday, at now 26-11 on the year, which includes the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Cabal/Farah) and the China Open in Beijing (d. Kubot/Melo).

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