Tennis News

From around the world

Nadal, Djokovic Push Higher In Crowded Race To Turin

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal has soared into sixth position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after beating Novak Djokovic in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final to tie the Serbian’s record of 36 ATP Masters 1000 trophies.

Only 30 points now separate the Spanish superstar (2,220) from fourth-placed Alexander Zverev (2,250), the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion and last week’s Mutua Madrid Open titlist. Daniil Medvedev is currently in fifth spot on 2,230 points. 

FedEx ATP Race To Turin Standings

 Player  Points
 1. Stefanos Tsitsipas  3,110
 2. Novak Djokovic  2,920
 3. Andrey Rublev  2,760
 4. Alexander Zverev  2,250
 5. Daniil Medvedev  2,230
 6. Rafael Nadal  2,220
 7. Aslan Karatsev  1,685
 8. Hubert Hurkacz  1,460
 9. Matteo Berrettini  1,445
 10. Jannik Sinner  1,310

Stefanos Tsitsipas continues to lead the 2021 year-to-date Race standings on 3,110 points, but five-time Nitto ATP Finals winner Djokovic is now just 190 points behind the Greek in second place. Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 crown last month at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Djokovic, who won his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Medvedev) in February, continues to turn up the heat on 22-year-old Tsitsipas as the Serbian superstar pursues a record-breaking seventh year-end No. 1 finish (2011-12, ’14-15, ’18, ’20). Djokovic currently shares the record for most year-end No. 1 finishes with his childhood idol Pete Sampras (1993-1998).

Following the conclusion of the season’s fourth Masters 1000 tournament, Matteo Berrettini and #NextGenATP Jannik Sinner remain within striking distance of the Top 8 automatic qualification positions for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin from 14-21 November.

Berrettini, who lost to Zverev in the Madrid final, sits in ninth place on 1,445 points, just 15 points behind eighth-placed Hubert Hurkacz (1,460), who defeated Sinner in the Miami Open presented by Itau final. Sinner, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, currently sits in 10th position on 1,310 points after the Rome event.

One of the week’s biggest climbers, Italian Lorenzo Sonego, jumped 16 spots to 13th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after a run to the Rome semi-finals (l. to Djokovic), while 2019 and 2020 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up Dominic Thiem is up to 16th after a rise of six places.

Source link

Djokovic: 'I'm Very Pleased With My Fighting Spirit'

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Novak Djokovic was disappointed to fall short in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final on Sunday against his great rival, Rafael Nadal. But the Serbian departs Rome as confident as he has been all clay-court season.

“[We played] almost three hours of high-quality tennis. Of course I’m disappointed not to win it, but at the same time I’m very pleased with the level of tennis that I managed to find in the later stages of this tournament,” Djokovic said. “Going into Paris brings me good sensation. I actually now [am starting] to feel like I actually want to feel on clay. So I think if I manage to play the way I played last night and today, I think I have a good chance to go all the way in Paris.”

Djokovic had a difficult path to the championship match, earning two victories on Saturday just to earn a shot against Nadal, who is now a 10-time champion at the Foro Italico.

“I could have easily went out from this tournament in quarters. I’m very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually.
Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played a high level,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately [the] decisive moments in the first and third sets [today] just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate.”

Had Djokovic showed signs of fatigue against Nadal, it would have been understandable given he spent four hours and 56 minutes on court on Saturday. But the Serbian came out swinging after losing the second set, and he had a chance to surge into a lead in the decider.

“Not at all. I did not feel any fatigue. He managed to break my serve and played better, that’s it. As I said, [until] the last shot it was quite close. I had my shot to win it, but [it] wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t feel fatigue,” Djokovic said. “Actually, I was very happy with the way I felt on the court. I could have gone for another few hours.”

Although Djokovic fell short of lifting his sixth Rome trophy, he earned a series of mental victories throughout the tournament, and he will also climb to second in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. According to the Serbian, rallying past Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thrilling quarter-final that was played across Friday and Saturday due to rain, ranks high on that list.

“Mentally it means a lot to overcome a huge obstacle against Tsitsipas. I was a set and a break down. He was serving for the match. He had everything to finish that match, like probably Shapovalov had everything to finish the match against Rafa,” Djokovic said. “We both dug ourselves out of quite a big hole and managed to reach [the] final.

“He was just [the] better player in the decisive moments, and he took the victory away from me, but [it] was very close. I have a lot of positives to take away from today.”

Djokovic will next compete at the Belgrade Open the week before Roland Garros. Last month, he played at the same venue in the Serbia Open, but lost against Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals. The Serbian will take some time to recover before trying to lift a trophy on home soil.

“I’m going to rest as much as I can, because I had enough time with the racquet on the court. So I’m just going to rejuvenate, regroup, and then start training again some days before the start of the Belgrade Open,” Djokovic said. “I’m hoping I can go all the way there, playing at home. Most likely we are going to see the crowd in the stands, so that’s going to be fantastic to feed off that energy, to go to Paris with good feelings on the court, off the court, spend some time with the family additionally, which I wouldn’t get if I go earlier to Paris.

“I have to obviously keep the momentum going I feel with the quality of tennis. Do more training, of course, and [play a] few more matches. I think I’m on the right way. Actually, the past couple days really gave me the confidence boost for the clay. I found the game. So now I just have to maintain that level and peak in Paris.”

Source link

Sensational Sebastian: #NextGenATP Baez Claims Third Challenger Title Of 2021

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Two weeks ago, it was Juan Manuel Cerundolo claiming his maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown. On Saturday, another #NextGenATP Argentine made a major statement with a title of his own.

Buenos Aires native Sebastian Baez will join Cerundolo in the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings after lifting the trophy in the Croatian capital of Zagreb. The duo are leading the South American charge in their quest to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals as well, with Baez moving to seventh in the ATP Race To Milan.

Baez, a qualifier, rallied from a set down to defeat Juan Pablo Varillas 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the championship clash at the Zagreb Open. It marked his third comeback victory of the week, after also dropping the opening set against former World No. 23 Damir Dzumhur and second seed Pedro Martinez.

“It was an amazing week,” said Baez. “The truth is that it’s something incredible to start in qualifying and to be able to lift the trophy. Thanks to my coach Sebastian for preparing me on court. It was just a good tournament with really good matches for me.”


A dogged defender with the agility to stop his opponents from all corners of the court, the 20-year-old is earning serious attention on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2021. Not only does he own a tour-leading 94.1 win percentage (16-1 record), but his three trophies move him atop the titles leaderboard alongside Jenson Brooksby.

Standing at 5’7″, where Baez lacks in height, he more than makes up with unyielding aggression and determination. Just like his 5’7″ countryman Diego Schwartzman.

With his victory on Saturday, Baez etched his name in the ATP Challenger history books for his native Argentina. At 20 years and four months, he joins Juan Martin del Potro, Guillermo Coria, Guillermo Canas and Gaston Gaudio as the only Argentines to win three Challenger titles before their 21st birthday. In addition, he became the youngest player from his country to win three titles in a single season since an 18-year-old Coria in 2000.

Youngest Argentines To Win Three Challenger Titles

Player Age Third Title
Juan Martin del Potro 17 years, 10 months 2006 Segovia
Guillermo Coria 18 years, 10 months 2000 Montevideo
Guillermo Canas 19 years, 10 months 1997 Santiago
Gaston Gaudio 20 years, 4 months, 10 days 1999 Nice
Sebastian Baez
20 years, 4 months, 17 days
2021 Zagreb

Baez, who opened the season outside the Top 300 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, has surged to a projected career-high of No. 183. A pair of titles on Chilean soil – in Concepcion and Santiago – gave him a perfect 10-0 start to 2021, before taking his talents to Europe and triumphing on the clay of Zagreb. He would prevail at the Zagreb Open as a qualifier, winning seven matches in seven days, including his first career victory over a Top 100 opponent (Martinez).

A former Roland Garros junior finalist in 2018, Baez has his sights set on qualifying for his first Grand Slam in Paris in one week.

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

With Measures Of 'Luck & Suffering', Rafa Rules In Rome Again

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal says that he is delighted to have captured his 10th Internazionali BNL d’Italia and it’s a reward for all his hard work over the past couples of weeks.

“It’s amazing to have the trophy with me again, one more time here in Rome,” said Nadal, after he defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 on Sunday in the final at the Foro Italico. “I really wanted this 10th here in Rome… After achieving 10 at Roland Garros, 10 in Monte-Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one. It’s [a] super important tournament for me.

“I went through a lot of things during the week. Some positive, some great moments, some lucky moments, suffering moments. At the end I think I played a very solid week of tennis… It’s the right moment to win an important title.

“I don’t put myself extra pressure [on myself] at all. I want to win every day and every tournament that I am playing. Something that I know [is] not going to happen. But the passion and the motivation to try is always the same. I know how to handle the pressure.”

Nadal, who equalled Djokovic’s tally of 36 ATP Masters 1000 trophies on Sunday, is now 18-3 on the season, which also includes capturing his 12th Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell crown on 25 April.

“I think I have been playing better and better with my forehand in the past couple of weeks, getting [more] confident. Today has been a positive day… That’s a huge improvement for me, [a] very important shot. Especially on clay, it’s give me confidence. I think my serve is working better, too. I think I had a great week. I played plenty of hours, so I feel good. I feel tired, but [it’s] a very satisfying victory.”

Watch Rome Final Highlights

The 34-year-old will now return to Mallorca to rest, and also prepare for a tilt at a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam championship crown with his 14th Roland Garros title.

“[I’ll] take a couple of days off and then start working,” said Nadal. “I think I can work on a couple of things that I can do a little bit better. I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with [those] improvements, because when you improve, you’re able to do it every day for longer time. Then it [gives you] more confidence and you feel more confident … to do it in the next tournament.

“I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work [on over] the next couple of weeks, and I’m going to do it. Work, relax mentally, and work the right way.”

Source link

Nadal Claws Closer To Djokovic In 'Big Titles' Race

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal clawed closer to Novak Djokovic in the ‘Big Titles’ race on Sunday when he beat Djokovic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to win his 10th Internazionali BNL d’Italia title.

The legendary lefty now has 57 ‘Big Titles’, moving to within two of the World No. 1’s record 59. Nadal also tied Djokovic’s record of 36 ATP Masters 1000 title with his triumph at the Foro Italico. A ‘Big Title’ is a trophy at a Grand Slam championship, the Nitto ATP Finals, an ATP Masters 1000 tournament or an Olympic singles gold medal.

The Spaniard has now won at least one ‘Big Title’ in 16 of the past 17 seasons. This is Nadal’s second trophy of the year after emerging victorious at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

Nadal has won four of his 10 championship matches in Rome against Djokovic. This was their sixth clash for a title at this tournament (4-2 Nadal).

Djokovic still has the best ‘Big Titles’ win-rate at one title won per 3.3 events played (59/197). Nadal has triumphed once for every 3.4 tournaments played at this levels (57/196). Only two other players have converted more than once per five events: Roger Federer (4.4, 54/237) and Pete Sampras (4.9, 30/147).

Current and Former Champions’ Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

Player Grand Slams Nitto ATP Finals 1000s Total^ (Avg)
Novak Djokovic 18/63 5/13 36/118 59/197 (3.3)
Rafael Nadal 20/61 0/10 36/123 57/196 (3.4)
Roger Federer 20/79 6/17 28/138 54/238 (4.4)
Pete Sampras 14/52 5/11 11/83 30/147 (4.9)
Andre Agassi 8/61 1/13 17/90 27/164 (6.1)
Andy Murray 3/50 1/8 14/100 20/161 (8.0)
Boris Becker* 2/26 2/6 5/51 9/84 (9.3)
Thomas Muster 1/29 0/4 8/53 9/87 (9.7)
Stefan Edberg** 3/28 0/4 4/45 7/79 (11.3)
Gustavo Kuerten 3/33 1/3 5/67 9/105 (11.6)
Jim Courier 4/38 0/4 5/71 9/114 (12.6)
Marcelo Rios 0/26 0/1 5/56 5/84 (16.8)
Marat Safin 2/41 0/3 5/87 7/133 (19)
Michael Chang*** 0/50 0/6 7/86 7/144 (20.6)
Andy Roddick 1/46 0/6 5/75 6/129 (22.5)

^ Includes Olympic Games gold medals and tournament participations
* Becker’s four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg’s three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
*** Chang’s one Grand Slam title came before 1990

Did You Know?
Nadal has now won at least 10 titles at four tour-level events. In addition to his 10 Rome victories, the Spaniard has also triumphed at Roland Garros 13 times, lifted 12 Barcelona trophies and won 11 Monte-Carlo titles.

Source link

Scouting Report: Federer Leads The Way In Geneva, Thiem & Tsitsipas In Action In Lyon

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

After consecutive weeks of ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome, the ATP Tour heads to Geneva and Lyon for ATP 250 events on clay.

Roger Federer will lead the way at the Gonet Geneva Open in his home country of Switzerland, and Dominic Thiem headlines the field at the Open Parc d’Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes-Lyon. looks at five things you should watch at each event.

View Draws: Geneva | Lyon

1) Roger’s Debut:
Federer will play an ATP Tour event in Geneva for the first time, and he brings a 32-match winning streak on home soil into this tournament. The home favourite has competed in tour-level matches in Geneva before, going 9-0 in Davis Cup and 2-0 in Laver Cup here. The 39-year-old is pursuing his first title since triumphing in Basel in 2019, and a victory this week would give him 104 tour-level trophies (just five behind Open Era record-holder Jimmy Connors, who won 109). The Swiss superstar will begin his run against Spaniard Pablo Andujar or Aussie Jordan Thompson.

Federer is one of two Swiss in the main draw, joined by 2020 Roland Garros boys’ singles champion Dominic Stephan Stricker. The 18-year-old has practised with Federer, and he will make his tour-level debut against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.

2) Shapo Surging: Second seed Denis Shapovalov will hope for a big week after falling in the third round in Rome against Rafael Nadal, where he pushed the legendary lefty to the brink at the Foro Italico. Nadal needed a final-set tie-break to dispatch the Canadian. Shapovalov, who is also making his Geneva debut, will open against Italian Stefano Travaglia or a qualifier.

3) Ruud On A Roll: One of the toughest clay-court players on the entire ATP Tour in recent months has been Norwegian Casper Ruud. The 22-year-old has made the semi-finals in his past three tournaments, two of which were ATP Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo and Madrid. The third seed this week in Geneva, Ruud will attempt to lift his second tour-level trophy after triumphing in Buenos Aires last year. The Norwegian will play two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren or Italian Salvatore Caruso in the second round.

4) Garin & Grigor: Two players to watch for are fifth seed Cristian Garin and fourth-seeded wild card Grigor Dimitrov. Garin is the other seeded player in Federer’s quarter of the draw. The Chilean has won five ATP Tour titles, all of which have come on clay. Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, has proven a dangerous foe when he is on his game. The Bulgarian will chase his first crown since triumphing at The O2 four years ago.

5) Marach & Pavic Top Seeds: Mate Pavic has dominated the doubles circuit this year alongside Nikola Mektic. The Croatians have won six titles in 2021, including three at Masters 1000 events. But for this week, Pavic will reunite with Oliver Marach. The pair claimed six trophies together, including a victory at the 2018 Australian Open. They are the top seeds in Geneva.

1) Thiem Time:
The top seed in Lyon is Thiem, the 2018 champion. Three years ago, the Austrian won three consecutive three-setters to lift the trophy here. Thiem will try to continue regaining rhythm in his third tournament since Dubai after making the semi-finals in Madrid and the third round in Rome. He will begin his run at this French ATP 250 against a lefty: home favourite Corentin Moutet or Briton Cameron Norrie.

2) Tsitsipas Shining: Stefanos Tsitsipas has enjoyed a tremendous start to 2021, tied with Andrey Rublev for the most wins this season (29). The Greek star will try to quickly bounce back from the disappointment of losing an epic quarter-final against Novak Djokovic in Rome and get back on track in Lyon, where he is the second seed. Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and he will try to add his second crown of the season this week. Making his tournament debut, the 22-year-old will first face former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or American Tommy Paul.

3) Monfils On The Move: Fifth seed Gael Monfils has lifted four of his 10 ATP Tour trophies on home soil (three in Montpellier), and he will try to add a fifth this week in Lyon. The home favourite made his debut at this tournament in 2018, losing in the first round. Monfils played just his second tournament of the season last week in Rome, where he battled hard in a tight three-set loss against eventual semi-finalist Lorenzo Sonego. The 34-year-old will attempt to earn his first victory of the season when he opens his Lyon campaign against South African Lloyd Harris.

4) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: Some of the ATP Tour’s biggest #NextGenATP stars will compete at the Open Parc d’Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes-Lyon. Sixth seed Jannik Sinner leads the way, and he will face a stiff challenge against 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev in the first round. Seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime will play 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti in the first round. Sebastian Korda, the 20-year-old who made the Miami quarter-finals, will face the winner if he gets by home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

5) Herbert/Mahut Try To Win At Home: Frenchmen Herbert and Nicolas Mahut are the top seeds in the Lyon doubles draw. The last time the pair triumphed on home soil together was at the Rolex Paris Masters in 2019. Another team to watch is Petros Tsitsipas and older brother Stefanos Tsitsipas, who received a wild card

Source link

Nadal Fights Past Djokovic For Record-Extending 10th Rome Crown

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal overcame a mid-match surge from Novak Djokovic and raised his level in the deciding set to triumph 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 on Sunday and lift his 10th trophy at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

In the 57th meeting of the ATP Tour’s most prolific rivalry, top seed Djokovic was facing second seed Nadal for the ninth time at the Foro Italico (Nadal leads 6-3). Nadal improved to 4-2 in Rome finals against Djokovic with the victory, and brought his ATP Head2Head record against the Serbian to 28-29 overall.

“It’s a very satisfying [victory],” Nadal said in his post-match press conference. “It’s amazing [to] have the trophy with me again one more time here in Rome. The 10th, I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. It was one of the first important titles that I won in my career.

“After achieving 10 in Roland Garros, 10 in Monte-Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one.”

Read More: Nadal Claws Closer To Djokovic In ‘Big Titles’ Race

The victory also earned Nadal a 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown, equalling Djokovic’s record since the series was established in 1990.

Most ATP Masters 1000 Titles (since 1990)

Novak Djokovic  36
 Rafael Nadal  36 
 Roger Federer


 Andre Agassi  17
 Andy Murray  14
 Pete Sampras  11

With his 88th tour-level title, Nadal surged into the sixth position in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin. He sits just 10 points behind Daniil Medvedev and 30 points behind Alexander Zverev, who holds the fourth position. Djokovic overtook Andrey Rublev to sit in second position, turning up the heat on Race leader Stefanos Tsitsipas. Only 190 points separate Djokovic and Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion Tsitsipas.

Djokovic spent nearly five hours on court (4hrs, 56 mins) yesterday after winning his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and a semi-final epic against Lorenzo Sonego to reach the final, while Nadal needed an hour and a half to take down Reilly Opelka.

Djokovic, who was bidding to record his first win on clay against the Spaniard since the 2016 Rome quarter-finals, showed little signs of fatigue in the opening set against Nadal. The Serbian raced out to a 2-0 lead by staying aggressive and keeping the points short. But Nadal broke straight back, and his forehand speed steadily climbed as the match unfolded, earning 15 of his 21 winners in the first set and 26 of 37 overall.

Rafael Nadal Forehand Placement
Graphic courtesy of Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media

“I think I have been playing better and better with my forehand the past couple of weeks, getting to the confidence point,” Nadal said. “[There were] moments [that] I could change more times down the line than what I did… But the positive thing is the winners and the solutions with my forehand have been much better than the past couple of weeks.

“That’s a huge improvement for me, [a] very important shot. Especially on clay it’s gives me confidence.”

Read More: Mektic/Pavic Win Sixth Trophy Of Season In Rome

Nadal stayed patient to claim the decisive break late in the set, taking advantage of a shaky service game from the Serbian at 5-5 to claim the lead, sealing the set after an hour and 15 minutes.

But a dip in Nadal’s intensity gave the Australian Open champion the opening he needed at the start of the second set. The Spaniard held a break point at 1-1 for an early edge, but Djokovic’s big first serves bailed him out of trouble. The World No. 1 let out a roar, and the comeback was on as he applied the pressure on Nadal with deep returns to claim a 3-1 lead.

Djokovic reeled off the last five games in a row, and arrived at set point with his fifth ace of the match. The Serbian outlasted Nadal at the baseline, earning a backhand error from the Spaniard to take the second set in 43 minutes.

The nine-time Rome champion overcame a crucial stage of the final set at 2-2, where Djokovic fought his way to two break points. Nadal held firm and raised his level in the next game, painting the lines with forehand winners to break to love for a 4-2 lead. He converted his second championship point after Djokovic sent a backhand long, sealing the victory after two hours and 49 minutes.

Did You Know?
Rafael Nadal has now won 10 or more tour-level titles at four different events. In addition to his 10th Rome title, Nadal owns 13 Roland Garros trophies, 12 in Barcelona and 11 in Monte-Carlo – setting tournament records at each one.

Source link

Mektic/Pavic Win Sixth Trophy Of Season In Rome

  • Posted: May 16, 2021

Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic powered their way to a sixth trophy — and third ATP Masters 1000 crown — of the season on Sunday with victory in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final.

The second seeds completed the week without dropping a set after a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over fifth seeds Rajeev Ram of the United States and Briton Joe Salisbury in 84 minutes at the Foro Italico in Rome.

“It feels great and we’re very happy with the way we played the whole tournament,” said Pavic. “We didn’t drop a set, so it showed how well we played throughout the week. It was a tough match. There were only a couple of chances in the first set before it became tighter in the second set from 6/0 to 6/4 [in the tie-break]. I hope we can keep going.

“The goal is to qualify for the [Nitto] ATP Finals in Turin. I was hoping we’d have good results, but it has surprised me a little bit as we hadn’t played together before this year.”

Mektic added, “Mate hit some good returns in the tie-break. It was a tough second set and we struggled with the return, as this court is a little faster than the other courts. It’s been an amazing year, but we expected to do well [at the start of the year].”

Mektic and Pavic, who follow in the footsteps of compatriot Goran Ivanisevic, who won the 1991 Rome doubles title with Italian Omar Camporese, are now 6-2 in 2021 championship matches.

Mektic, 32, and Pavic, 27, who are No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings with a 37-4 match record this year, also clinched titles at the Antalya Open (d. Dodig/Polasek), Murray River Open in Melbourne (d. Chardy/Martin), ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Krawietz/Tecau), the Miami Open presented by Itau and Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Evans/N. Skupski both times).

A lack of first serves cost Ram in the fifth game of the first set, with Mektic and Pavic breaking serve after three consecutive return winners. Ram and Salisbury made life a little uncomfortable for Pavic, when he served for the set at 5-4, but the 27-year-old held his nerve on a Deciding Deuce point. Mektic and Pavic won 90 per cent of their first-service points in the 33-minute opener.

When Pavic hit a routine forehand volley wide at 15/15 on Ram’s serve at 2-2 in the second set, the momentum started to shift. Ram and Salisbury returned better and later Pavic did well to recover from 0/30 at 5-6. The Croatians hit their first serves in a strong start to the tie-break and while Ram and Salisbury won four straight points from an 0/6 deficit, Mektic closed out with an ace.

Ram and Salisbury, who lost to Mektic and Pavic 6-3, 7-6(5) in the Miami semi-finals last month, are now 17-8 in their third season as a team. They had been attempting to capture their fourth crown (2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 2019 Erste Bank Open in Vienna, 2020 Australian Open).

Last week, Mektic and Pavic were beaten in the Mutua Madrid Open final by Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

Source link