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Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are now just two wins from retaining their Australian Open title.

The fifth seeds, who triumphed at Melbourne Park last year for their first Grand Slam title together, beat Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald 7-6(6), 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals.

“Really happy to get through that first set. Obviously I think that was the key to the match,” Ram said in their on-court interview. “These guys have been playing together and quite well for a while, so we knew we were going to be in for it today. I think we raised our level at the very end of that breaker, which got us over the line.”

The margins were thin in the first set, with very little separating the teams. On the first set point they faced, Daniell hit a perfect lob volley on the baseline, setting up Oswald for a winning overhead. But Ram and Salisbury were the more solid team in crunch time to take the opener.

Then in the second set, Salisbury hit a forehand lob winner to earn the first service break of the match, and the defending champions never looked back. Ram and Salisbury only lost six service points in their victory.

“I think it just took us a little bit of time to get into the match. The conditions were a bit different today. Obviously very hot, the court is pretty lively,” Salisbury said. “We just improved throughout the match. I think we struggled a little bit on return games in the first set, but we were serving well, so we knew if we stuck in there and played a good tie-break [that would be big]. We just got through it and then we played better in the second set.”


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