Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury advanced to their second straight Australian Open final on Friday, as they ended Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares’ unbeaten start to 2021 with a 6-4, 7-6(2) semi-final win.
The defending champions recovered from 0-3 down in the first set and converted two of their three break points en route to victory. Ram and Salisbury improved their team record at the Australian Open to 13-1 with their one-hour, 45-minute victory against Murray and Soares. The three-time tour-level team titlists’ only loss at this event came on their tournament team debut in 2019, when they fell in three sets to eventual champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the third round.
“It was a tough one,” said Salisbury. “[It was a] very tight match throughout. We got off to a bad start. [We] were broken [and] 3-0 down. We didn’t play a good service game. I think we were a bit frustrated about that, and I think it was good that we got back on serve straight away. That definitely helped a lot.
“We played really well [for] the rest of that set. I’m sure they were pretty frustrated that they let that lead go… [We] really got into the match after that. The second set was really tight… I felt like they were a little bit on top in the second set. But we knew if we got it to a tie-break we’d have a great chance. Like we have in a couple of the other matches, [we] upped our level and played really well in the tie-break.”
Murray and Soares were also attempting to reach their second Australian Open final as a team. The 2016 champions, who started the year with a title run at the Great Ocean Road Open, own an 8-1 record this season.
Ram and Salisbury will attempt to become the first team since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in 2011 to win consecutive titles at the opening major championship of the year. The 2020 titlists will meet ninth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the final. Dodig and Polasek snapped Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic’s unbeaten 12-0 team record on Thursday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 comeback win.
Ram and Salisbury are tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series against Dodig and Polasek. The two teams met twice at the end of the 2019 ATP Tour season and both matches required a Match Tie-break. Dodig and Polasek recorded a 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7 victory at the Rolex Paris Masters, before Ram and Salisbury gained revenge with a 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 triumph at the Nitto ATP Finals.
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Ram is also through to the mixed doubles final at Melbourne Park. Alongside Czech Barbora Krejcikova, the American will face Aussie wild cards Matthew Ebden and Sam Stosur for the trophy on Saturday.