Rajeev Ram completed the first half of a potential Australian Open doubles double on Saturday, as he captured the mixed doubles title alongside Barbora Krejcikova on Rod Laver Arena.
Ram and Krejcikova claimed the trophy for the second time in three years with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against Aussie wild cards Matthew Ebden and Sam Stosur. The sixth seeds, who also lifted the trophy in 2019, converted four of six break points to clinch the title in 59 minutes.
Krejcikova has won the past three editions of the mixed doubles event at Melbourne Park. Last year, the Czech triumphed alongside Nikola Mektic of Croatia.
“I have to thank my partner. We had a year off as a team, but she didn’t have a year off and she won this thing last year. That’s three years running for her. Amazing job,” said Ram, during the trophy ceremony. “It was a pleasure to play with you, as always.”
The sixth seeds were almost eliminated in the second round. Ram and Krejcikova had to save a match point at 10/11 in a Match Tie-break to overcome Ben McLachlan and Ena Shibahara 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 for a place in the quarter-finals. Ram and Krejcikova dropped just one set en route to the title.
“They were pretty flawless,” said Ebden. “They hardly missed a ball, so congratulations and well done.”
Ram’s mixed doubles final victory keeps his hopes of completing the Australian Open doubles double alive. The American will attempt to capture his second straight men’s doubles title at Melbourne Park alongside Joe Salisbury on Sunday. The 2020 champions will meet ninth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the championship match.
Ebden and Stosur were both attempting to win the Australian Open mixed doubles trophy for the second time, following previous title runs with different partners. Ebden partnered Jarmila Wolfe to the title in 2013 and Stosur triumphed alongside Scott Draper in 2005.
“I’ve played Matt so many times. We’ve played on Tour together so many times and it is always a pleasure to play you,” said Ram. “[He is] a great player and Sam is obviously a legend of tennis and Australian tennis especially, so it was a real pleasure to share the court with you guys.”