Australian Open finalists Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury claimed two victories on Saturday to book their place in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final, where they will face second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic for their first trophy of the year.
The fifth seeds were set to take on Mutua Madrid Open champions Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos on Friday, but heavy rain halted play before they could take the court. As a result, they faced the prospect of having to play their quarter-final and semi-final matches on the same day – but they stayed focussed to reach their second tour-level final of the season.
In the quarter-finals, Ram and Salisbury had to weather a mid-match surge from Granollers and Zeballos, who saved all five break points they faced. But Ram and Salisbury were decisive in the first-set tie-break and Match Tie-break to claim a 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-2 victory in an hour and 48 minutes.
After suitable rest, the fifth seeds hit the court again to face Marcelo Arevalo and Matwe Middelkoop. This time, it was Ram and Salisbury who bossed the break points, saving all three en route to a 6-4, 6-4 victory to book a spot in the final.
Their opponents Mektic and Pavic are the No. 1 team in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings and boast a 36-4 record since teaming up for the first time at the start of the season.
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They have not dropped a set all week en route to their fourth ATP Masters 1000 final after back-to-back victories at the Miami Open presented by Itau and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. They became the first team since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (2014, 2018) to reach the first four finals at this level in a single season since the series started in 1990.
Mektic and Pavic were made to work for that record, narrowly edging John Peers and Michael Venus 7-6(5), 7-6(4) over an hour and 41 minutes.
The Croatians own a 1-0 lead in the FedEx ATP Head2Head against Ram and Salisbury, winning 6-3, 7-6(5) over the American-British duo in the Miami semi-finals.