Ram/Salisbury Hold Nerve For Cincinnati Crown
The top seeds clinched their second ATP Masters 1000 title of the season at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday, when they completed a hard-fought 7-6(4), 7-6(5) victory against Tim Puetz and Michael Venus in Cincinnati.
“It gives us huge confidence to get the win this week,” said Salisbury, who only returned to action last week in Montreal after missing a month due to a back issue. “First and foremost, it’s a huge tournament, our third Masters 1000 title together and Raj’s home tournament, so it’s really special to win here.
The fourth Masters 1000 meeting between the two teams was dominated by serve, with Ram and Salisbury winning 82 per cent (46/56) and Puetz and Venus 85 per cent (39/46) of points behind their first deliveries. It was Ram and Salisbury’s ability to raise their level in both tie-breaks that proved decisive, however, as they wrapped up a one-hour, 38-minute win to seal their third Masters 1000 crown as a team.
“Sometimes it just comes down to good serves at the right time,” said Ram, who saved Puetz and Venus’s only two break points of the match in his opening service game. “I felt like we did that great today, because they came out probably returning better than we did. We were able to stave off those break points, keep fighting and having a good attitude, and I think that’s what got us over the line.”
Ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, respectively, Salisbury and Ram's previous best performance in Cincinnati was a semi-final run in 2020. For Ram, who hails from nearby Indiana, the victory was particularly poignant.
"It’s really cool, I’ve played [here] every year of my career,” said the American, who has now won 24 tour-level doubles titles. “We don’t get many home games in tennis, so it’s pretty special when you get to be successful at something that you consider a home tournament.”
The victory lifts Ram and Salisbury two spots to third place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, as they seek to qualify for November’s Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year.