Ram/Salisbury Capture Maiden Team Title In Dubai
Fourth seeds improve to 11-4 team record
In their second ATP Tour final of the season, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury defeated Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(4), 6-3 on Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to lift their first tour-level title as a team.
"[I am] really, really happy. We've had a great week," said Salisbury. "I felt like we were playing well. We had our first final together in Brisbane [and it] felt like we didn't quite perform as well as we could. I think today, even if we lost that match, we don't think we could have done any more. We played really well. [I am] absolutely delighted with it."
The fourth seeds, who reached the Brisbane final (l. to Daniell/Koolhof) in January on their team debut, won 88 per cent of first-serve points (37/42) to triumph after 82 minutes. Ram and Salisbury improve to 11-4 as a team and earn 500 ATP Doubles Rankings points after claiming the title without dropping a set or facing a break point. The American-British duo also splits $177,600 in prize money.
"As a team, I think the goal is to make the Nitto ATP Finals," said Salisbury. "Obviously that's sort of the pinnacle of the sport, to play in [that event]. I think if we keep going, having a good year, it's definitely a possibility for us."
Ram has now clinched 18 trophies from 31 tour-level doubles finals. Salisbury improves to 3-1 in tour-level championship matches after picking up his first two ATP Tour crowns last year: one alongside McLachlan in Shenzhen and the other with Neal Skupski in Vienna.
"I think we complement each other really well," said Ram. "He's just a super athlete on the court [and he] covers a lot of space. I think we both served quite well. I don't think we actually faced a break point all week, which is pretty good. I think that was the key to us winning here... We played some big-serving teams, especially in the last two rounds. We were able to hold our own, manufacture some breaks and win a couple of tie-breaks. Holding serve is a big part of our identity."
McLachlan and Struff were aiming to extend their undefeated 2-0 team record in tour-level finals. The Japanese-German pairing defeated top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic en route to the championship match. Having saved one match point in their semi-final victory over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja to reach the final, McLachlan and Struff gain 300 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split $86,930 in prize money.
Did You Know?
In the semi-finals, Ram and Salisbury defeated two-time defending champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. Rojer and Tecau are the only team to win back-to-back doubles titles since the tournament began in 1993.