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Pitch Perfect, String Quartet Hitting The Right Notes In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Pitch Perfect, String Quartet Hitting The Right Notes In Turin

String quartet have performed before every singles match in Turin

Fans have been treated to dramatic three-set matches at the Nitto ATP Finals this week, with Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud among those producing their best in Turin.

However, the players are not the only ones who have been putting on a show at the Pala Alpitour. Krystal Kuartet, an electric string group from Bologna, have lit up the Pala Alpitour with their pitch-perfect performances before each singles match.

For violinists Ilaria Coratti and Altea Saraceni, the experience of playing in front of more than 10,000 fans each session has been memorable.

“I had a range of feelings before playing,” Coratti said. “We were nervous. But then we were really excited when [we] started [playing], with all the crowds screaming at us. It is a performance for us. It is a joy for us.”

“It is really amazing because you enter the arena and all the people are watching you and it is very impressive,” Saraceni added.

Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

 Nitto ATP Finals Tournament Director Adam Hogg said: “I think the key for us is that the event has built a reputation for innovation, technology, moving forward, market-leading in terms of how we present the sport. But it is also [about] blending that with the location where we are, and that’s the crux of what we’re trying to do.

“You see Italian influence, whether it be through the contrast between different elements of Italian culture and the professionalism required to be an elite athlete in terms of performance, dedication, skill and time spent at your craft and the like. [It is about] combining that element of Italianism and culture, but also with elite modern sport.”

Coratti and Saraceni revealed the group, which also includes violinists Greta Rondelli and Viviana Marzolo, practises for five hours a day to ensure they deliver their best when they step on court to perform. The pair has enjoyed being part of the prestigious year-end event and have loved watching the tennis, rewarding themselves for their incredible performances by cheering on the players.

“We have seen some matches and we love it so much,” said Saraceni, who used to play tennis before turning her focus to music. “It is a really important event and Turin is really grateful to have this competition in this city.”

“It is different as we usually play for private events [such as] birthday parties and weddings,” Coratti said. “Sometimes we play at sporting events. We went to play at an MMA event in Bahrain as well. But this is bigger.”

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Ruud Races Past Rublev In Turin, Sets Djokovic Final Clash

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Ruud Races Past Rublev In Turin, Sets Djokovic Final Clash

2021 semi-finalist one win away from biggest title of career

Casper Ruud delivered a ruthless semi-final display on Saturday night at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the third-seeded Norwegian dispatched Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 in Turin to set a championship match clash against Novak Djokovic.

Ruud struck the ball with consistency and power and was clinical at key moments as he converted four of four break points to cruise to a comfortable victory at the Pala Alpitour. The only blip for the Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad champion came at 5-2 in the second set, when he dropped his serve when serving for the match, but he held firm to seal his win in just 69 minutes.

“It’s tough sometimes because things are obviously going great, but sometimes they can go almost too well,” said Ruud after his triumph. “So you feel like you can do anything with the ball and you can get a little bit ahead of yourself.

“I don’t think I did when I was serving for it [the first time]. Andrey hit some great returns, aggressive with the forehand. Of course, you tend to hesitate a little bit. Luckily for me, I go out there at 5-4 and serve with new balls, so that helps a lot. I knew that I had the backup break. I wasn’t stressing too much. Everything sort of was going my way today.”

Rublev had expertly maintained his focus to rally to a crucial three-set round-robin victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday night, but the sixth seed was unable to deliver a repeat performance against the rock-solid Norwegian as Ruud raced into the final on just his second Nitto ATP Finals appearance.

In a meeting between two of the biggest forehands in the game, it was Ruud who shone brightest off that wing. The Norwegian’s INSIGHTS Forehand Quality score for the match was 8.5 out of 10, a tally 1.3 higher than the ATP Tour average.

<a href=''>Casper Ruud</a>: INSIGHTS Forehand Quality
Casper Ruud: INSIGHTS Forehand Quality Vs. Andrey Rublev

Ruud and Rublev had appeared set for a hard-fought contest after some hard-hitting rallies in the early stages at the Pala Alpitour, but Rublev made a series of errors from 40/15 to hand Ruud a break in the fifth game. The Norwegian then took firm control, reeling off seven more games in a row to move within two of a milestone victory.

A late surge from Rublev, during which he recovered from 1-5 to 4-5, proved too little, too late, with his 23 unforced errors the defining statistic of his loss. In contrast, Ruud made just eight, while the Norwegian also hitting 20 winners en route to his 51st tour-level victory of the season.

It was only Ruud’s second victory against Rublev in five ATP Head2Head meetings. His sole previous win also came in Turin, a three-set triumph in the round-robin stage in 2021.

“I got a couple of good beatings from Andrey, so it was nice to sort of get revenge from that,” said Ruud. “And we haven’t played since here last year. I’m not going to get ahead of myself, but I guess I have a good thing going against him in Turin.”

Ruud will be the first Scandinavian to contest a Nitto ATP Finals championship match since Sweden’s Stefan Edberg in 1990. Should he defeat Djokovic and clinch the title, the 23-year-old will pass Rafael Nadal to end the year as No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Yet he is aware of the task that lies ahead.

“He’s a player that doesn’t have many weaknesses at all,” said Ruud of Djokovic. “But he’s human. He’s had a great year… But he is human. He lost two weeks ago to Rune in the [Rolex Paris Masters] final.

“It’s not like he plays these finals every day of his career, in his life. I’m sure he will also feel a little bit of pressure. There’s a lot on the line. [In the Pepperstone ATP Rankings], I may be ahead of him, but I feel like the underdog. He has won this tournament five times and I’ve seen them all on TV, how great he has played.”

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'Gio the Giant' Growing Fast On Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

‘Gio the Giant’ Growing Fast On Challenger Tour

Lyon native is No. 382 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard is a tennis junkie. Not only is the 19-year-old finding early success on the ATP Challenger Tour, he also manages to watch his close friends, such as Arthur Fils, on Challenger TV.

Amidst all his matches, practices, work outs, travelling, and the minute details that go into a professional tennis player’s life, the Frenchman is a true supporter of his friends.

This week at the Helsinki Challenger, he didn’t have to go online to watch Fils. He was across the net for a first-round qualifying match.

ATP Challenger Tour 

“I try to watch every single match of Arthur’s on Challenger TV,” Mpetshi Perricard told

In 2021, ‘Gio’ made his first breakthrough as he partnered with Fils to win the Roland Garros boys’ doubles title. That same week, Fils got the better of him in the boys’ singles semi-final en route to a runner-up finish (l. Van Assche). In Finland, the roles were reversed as Mpetshi Perricard qualified for the Helsinki Challenger main draw. The #NextGenATP Frenchmen are hoping to be among the next generation of top professionals in their country.

“It was nice to win the boys’ doubles title at home with my friend,” Mpetshi Perricard said. “Now when I see the results of Arthur and guys like Gabriel Debru, we push each other in a good way. When we are back training at the [French Tennis] Federation, there is a good atmosphere together.”

The Lyon native, who has competed in just eight Challenger events in his career, is already learning valuable lessons through the highs and lows of the professional circuit. One important learning curve came after a tough loss in May.


“At the Bordeaux Challenger, I lost in qualifying to Salvatore Caruso after having two match points,” Mpetshi Perricard said. “After the match I told myself, ‘Giovanni, you had two match points against a very good player, so you can go higher!’

“The beginning of the season was very complicated for me. I had a shoulder injury and I was sick. Now I’m really happy to be playing at 100 percent.”

This summer, ‘Gio’ advanced through qualifying en route to reaching his first Challenger semi-final at the Liberec Challenger, where he lost to eventual champion Jiri Lehecka. The Frenchman continued to play well on the clay-courts, including the Lima-2 Challenger, where he was a quarter-finalist (l. Coria).

The youngster stands tall at 6’7” and carries an aggressive game style. Boasting a heavy delivery, solid forehand, and a one-handed backhand, ‘Gio’ pounces on any opportunity to close the net.

Giovanni Meptshi Perricard in action at the 2022 Lima-2 Challenger.
Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in action at the 2022 Lima-2 Challenger. Credit: @igmachallengers

Coached by Emmanuel Planque, who has previously worked with former Top-25 players Michael Llodra, Lucas Pouille, and Fabrice Santoro, the World No. 382 has his eyes set on following in the footsteps of his French tennis idols Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils to achieve a childhood dream.

“Growing up you see Roland Garros on TV, and I told myself, ‘I want to be there!’” Mpetshi Perricard said.

The Frenchman isn’t the only tennis player in his family with a bright future. His 13-year-old sister Daphnee won the J3 Saint Cyprien ITF event this past month. Giovanni cracked a laugh as he shared that he will never allow her to beat him.

Whether he’s watching his friends on Challenger TV, finding success of his own, or enjoying a sibling rivalry against his younger sister, ‘Gio’ has the sport of tennis flowing through his veins.

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Mektic/Pavic Set Blockbuster Ram/Salisbury Final In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Mektic/Pavic Set Blockbuster Ram/Salisbury Final In Turin

Croatians seeking sixth title of season

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic moved to within one with of capturing their biggest title of the season Saturday when they clawed past Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-6 to reach the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals.

The Croatians dropped just one set during the round-robin stage and played with confidence throughout the dramatic semi-final clash, crunching returns and dispatching volleys at the crucial moments to earn their 51st tour-level win of season as a team after one hour and 39 minutes.

“During the match there were some tough games on our serve but we survived it,” Mektic said. “We were focused and we really wanted this win and I am so happy we gave ourselves a chance tomorrow.”

The fourth seeds fell to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the semi-finals in Turin last year. They will have the chance to gain revenge in Sunday’s final, though, after the American-British tandem downed top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski earlier.

“I remember in the semis we lost a tough match,” Pavic said when looking ahead to the final against Ram and Salisbury. “We didn’t drop our serve, they won in a Match Tie-break, and I am expecting the same thing. They like the court and the conditions. I am looking forward to it. That is why you play, to go on the big stage.”

Mektic and Pavic are seeking their sixth tour-level title of the year this week in northern Italy. They triumphed together at an ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome, while they also lifted trophies in Geneva, at The Queen’s Club in London, in Eastbourne and Astana.

In a hard-fought clash, Mektic and Pavic were strong on serve, winning 82 per cent (42/51) of points behind their first delivery as they fended off attacking onslaughts from the sixth seeds. They also held their nerve, saving all five break points they faced, before pulling clear in the Match Tie-break to improve to 4-0 in their ATP Head2Head series against Glasspool and Heliovaara.

Mektic is aiming to win his second Nitto ATP Finals crown, having triumphed with Wesley Koolhof in 2020.

Glasspool and Heliovaara were making their debut this week in Turin. They have enjoyed a consistent year on Tour, highlighted by winning their maiden ATP 500 title in Hamburg in July. The British-Finnish pair finishes the season holding a 47-27 record.

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Novak Djokovic: Inside A Champion's Mentality

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Novak Djokovic: Inside A Champion’s Mentality

Serbian one win from lifting a record-tying sixth season finale trophy

As Novak Djokovic walked from his locker room towards centre court at the Pala Alpitour on Saturday, the Serbian closed his eyes for a moment. The five-time Nitto ATP Finals winner was in the zone. Call it the champion’s zone.

The 35-year-old found that area of focus when he needed it most in the Turin semi-finals against Taylor Fritz, whom he defeated in two tie-breaks to advance to the championship match at the season finale.

“I was looking forward to being in this position. I’m very happy to be able to compete for another big trophy, one of the biggest ones that we have in our sport,” Djokovic said. “So far a great week for me. Four out of four wins. Of course, the last match of the season, I’m going to give it all. I’m going to obviously try my best.”

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More often than not, Djokovic has discovered his best tennis on the world’s biggest stages under the most pressure. It is a champion’s intangible that the Serbian has relied on in the toughest of moments.

It is not always easy for the former World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. On Friday, Djokovic needed more than three hours to claw past Daniil Medvedev while under physical distress. He put that behind him to battle past Fritz in a tense semi-final.

“I like the fact that I was able to win against Medvedev after a very long battle, then come back the next day after not too much time for recovery, be able to win another tight match against Fritz in two sets,” Djokovic said. “That’s something that has in a way defined my career over the years. I’ve had similar situations where I was able to bounce back and really make some big wins.

“I would love to, of course, win the trophy, but I’m not going to be the only player who is going to want that on the court. Hopefully I’ll be able to play at the level that I’ve played most of the matches this week and get a trophy.”

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This is a position Djokovic is plenty familiar with. The Serbian first triumphed at the Nitto ATP Finals — then the Tennis Masters Cup — in 2008. If he lifts the trophy Sunday, it will make 14 years between his first and most recent title at the year-end championships. The current record belongs to Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, who claimed their first and last season finale crowns eight years apart.

Separately, Djokovic can tie Federer’s record of six Nitto ATP Finals titles. He has positioned himself for this opportunity through consistent evolution.

“I would like to believe that I’m evolving, as anybody else, hopefully in a positive way. I’m experiencing changes on my body and of course with my mentality, my mind, my character. We all are evolving and moving along. Every single year we are different people,” Djokovic said. “Of course, with the different circumstances in life, you adapt to them and you try to be [a] better version [than] you have been the year before, not just in terms of athleticism or results or tennis, but just in general.

“There is more experience. I like to maybe believe there is more wisdom, as well, in terms of how I see things related to my sport and my life. Of course, I’m seeing tennis different and the life around tennis today than I’ve seen it 15 years ago. I’ve always been very thorough with my approach and analysis on and off the court.”

Djokovic developed this mindset under the tutelage of Jelena Gencic, his first tennis coach. According to the 21-time major winner, she “was very professional and had that holistic approach to everything”.

“Of course, as I was getting older, each year was passing, more things, more lessons learned, more things added, some maybe put away,” Djokovic said. “It creates a formula of success that is obviously working for you, but maybe not for somebody else.”

Djokovic has successfully used that formula countless time during his career. He will hope to do so once more on Sunday, when the champion of champions will be crowned.

Did You Know?
Djokovic is one victory from becoming an undefeated Nitto ATP Finals champion for the fourth time. If he lifts the trophy, it will come with the biggest payday in tennis history: a record $4,740,300 in prize money.

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Fritz: 'I've Proved I Belong'

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Fritz: ‘I’ve Proved I Belong’

American lost against Djokovic on Saturday in Turin

It has been a year of firsts for Taylor Fritz. The American lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells in March and cracked the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in October, before making his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals this week.

Despite suffering semi-final heartbreak against Novak Djokovic in Turin on Saturday, the 25-year-old revealed that he was proud of his season as he reflected on his newfound status in the sport.

“I absolutely feel like I belong,” said World No. 9 Fritz in his post-match press conference. “I think that I’ve proved that I belong in the Top 10 and I belong here. I just need to keep working hard.

“Fortunately for me, I think there’s a lot of positives to take out of this year where I finished. I finished where I did and I missed pretty much the whole clay-court season, didn’t have any training going into the beginning of the hard-court season. I was dealing with injuries and I still was able to produce a really solid year. I’m just excited to get back to work and keep improving. Next year [I will] look to cement my spot even more.”

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One Win From History! Djokovic Downs Fritz To Reach Turin Final

Fritz earned round-robin victories against Rafael Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the prestigious year-end event, before falling to Djokovic 7-6(5), 7-6(6).

The American finished ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and therefore looked set to miss out on competing in Turin. However, Carlos Alcaraz’s internal oblique muscle tear forced the Spaniard to withdraw a week before the event, opening the door for Fritz.

The World No. 9 admitted that despite his semi-final disappointment, he was pleased with how he grabbed his chance in northern Italy.

“I’m sure in two weeks from now I’ll look back and I’ll say, ‘It was a really great week,’” Fritz said. “Not only did I get the chance to play the [Nitto ATP] Finals, I made it out of the group. I had two good wins.

“I could have ended my year with a second-round loss in Paris and that would have been it. I would have gone into the off-season with that being the last match. Now I’m going to feel a lot better about my tennis, about my game being done for the season off of this performance. So it’s great.”

Fritz, who was making his debut at the year-end event this week, also feels the experience of competing in Turin will benefit him moving forward.

“I think the event’s amazing,” Fritz said. “I like that you can lose a match and still have the opportunity to come back and improve. It’s a whole different thing. I’ve never lost a match and then immediately had to lock in straight back to it. To do everything after the match the same as I would if I had won because I have to get ready to play again.

“I think it’s a good lesson to learn, staying locked in all the time. On Tour the top players are consistent every week. That’s one thing you can take out of it. Even after you lose, you just kind of stay on it.”

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One Win From History! Djokovic Downs Fritz To Reach Turin Final

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

One Win From History! Djokovic Downs Fritz To Reach Turin Final

Serbian one win from securing the largest payday in tennis history

Novak Djokovic passed a stern semi-final test from Taylor Fritz on Saturday at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the Serbian prevailed 7-6(5), 7-6(6) to move within one victory of equalling Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the prestigious season finale.

A spirited showing from Fritz saw the American recover a break deficit in the first set and surge to a 5-3 lead in the second. Despite struggling to consistently find his best level, however, Djokovic found a way to pull through in both tie-breaks as he wrapped a hard-fought one-hour, 54-minute victory at the Pala Alpitour.

“I had to fight to survive,” said Djokovic afterwards. “I didn’t feel very reactive today or very comfortable. I knew coming into today’s match from yesterday’s gruelling battle against [Daniil] Medvedev I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the dynamic movement I need against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the Tour.”

The seventh-seeded Djokovic delivered a solid rather than spectacular performance against Fritz, hitting just 21 winners to the eighth seed’s 31. He was delighted to claim victory in straight sets after his lung-busting three-hour, 11-minute round-robin triumph against Medvedev on Friday afternoon.

“I had to be very patient, I didn’t start the second set very well,” said Djokovic. “But I managed to break his serve at 5-4 when he was serving for the set, like when [Daniil] Medvedev was serving for the match yesterday. In those moments I find another gear and managed to hold my nerve and make him play another shot in the tie-break.

“I am very pleased to have overcome this one as I don’t think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I managed to hang in there.”

The way in which Djokovic attacked Fritz’s second serve was key to his triumph. The Serbian won 61 per cent (14/23) of points against the American’s second delivery and converted both break points he had.

Djokovic can match the Swiss great Federer’s title tally on Sunday when he takes on Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev in the championship match in Turin. Should he lift the trophy, Djokovic will also claim the largest payday in tennis history, with $4,740,300 on offer for claiming the Nitto ATP Finals trophy undefeated.

The 35-year-old Djokovic is chasing his fifth tour-level title of the season in Turin. The Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv and Astana champion now holds a 45-17 career record at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lifted the trophy in 2008 (in Shanghai) and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (in London).

Despite the disappointment of Friday’s defeat, Fritz was upbeat about how close he had pushed the 90-time tour-level champion Djokovic after reaching the semi-finals on his Nitto ATP Finals debut. The World No. 9 acknowledged his week in Turin had given him extra belief that he can consistently compete with his Top 10 rivals in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“Typically I’m good at tie-breakers,” reflected Fritz. “I feel like my tie-breaker record throughout my career has definitely been really good. Today I played both tie-breakers pretty well… I’m right there. It’s small margins in tennis. It’s always like that. It’s very small margins. [I] just need to get that little bit better and I’m right there.”

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Djokovic broke to love in the fifth game of the match against Fritz to build some early pressure, but the American responded well and immediately levelled for 3-3 as the Indian Wells, Eastbourne and Tokyo champion began to settle. Although both players still struggled to find their top level, it was Djokovic who produced a moment of magic on set point with a classy forehand winner that clinched the tie-break.

Fritz came out firing in the second set, breaking the Serbian in the opening game and looking increasingly confident in his maiden Nitto ATP Finals semi-final. It was a simple missed backhand from Fritz at 5-4, 30/30 that proved pivotal, although the American appeared distracted by someone calling from the crowd as he struck the ball. Djokovic capitalised to reclaim the break before securing victory in a dramatic tie-break to the delight of his vocal fans inside the Pala Alpitour.

“I enjoy having the atmosphere,” reflected Djokovic afterwards. “When people come and watch you play, they expect some kind of entertainment and good tennis and hopefully they enjoyed themselves, especially towards the end of the match. Every point against a player like Fritz who has a big serve counts.”

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Ram/Salisbury Seal Final Berth In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 19, 2022

Ram/Salisbury Seal Final Berth In Turin

Second seeds seeking fourth tour-level title of the season

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury maintained their perfect record at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals Saturday when they overcame top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 7-6(7), 6-4 to reach the final in Turin.

The American-British team went 3-0 in the round-robin stage and produced another inspired performance at the Pala Alpitour to earn their 36th tour-level win of the season together.

In a high-quality match that twisted one way and then the other, the second seeds produced their best level at crucial times. Ram crushed backhand winners down the line on return, while Salisbury showed great touch to flick an array of winners from all angles throughout the one-hour, 39-minute semi-final.

“We are very happy to be through,” Salisbury said. “I feel we are pretty good at handling whatever any situation we are in. It was tough not closing it out more straightforward in the [first set] tie-break, but we fought hard and got it done eventually. We then stayed focused and played pretty smart and held onto our serve well. We are pretty happy with the performance.”

”It is something I have worked really hard on,” Ram said when asked about his returning. “It is huge to keep in games and matches and I think it is my most improved area, so I am happy it paid off today.”

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Ram and Salisbury are aiming to go one step further at the prestigious year-end event this year, having lost to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the championship match last season. The American-British team will play Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic or Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in Sunday’s final.

They now lead Koolhof and Skupski 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the Dutch-British tandem in the US Open final in September.

Ram and Salisbury are seeking their fourth tour-level title of the season at the prestigious season finale in Italy. The duo triumphed at ATP Masters 1000 events in Monte Carlo and Cincinnati.

With the pressure on, Ram and Salisbury flew out of the blocks in the semi-final. They soared into a 3-0 lead in the first set, before Koolhof and Skupski battled back, stepping up their intensity to level at 3-3. They then saved one set point on serve at 4-5, with the opener eventually moving to a tie-break. In a dramatic conclusion, Koolhof and Skupski saved a further five set points in the tie-break, including four from 2/6, before Ram and Salisbury finally claimed the opener on their seventh chance.

The second seeds then kept their focus in the second set, saving the one break point they faced to advance.

Koolhof and Skupski were honoured as the 2022 year-end ATP Doubles No. 1 team presented by Pepperstone on Thursday in Turin after enjoying a standout season that saw them win seven tour-level trophies, including ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Madrid, Montreal and Paris.

Koolhof lifted the trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals with Nikola Mektic in 2020, while Skupski was making his debut at the event.

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