No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury have made a winning start to their Nitto ATP Finals after defeating eighth-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-5 3-6 10-5. Ram and Salisbury failed to serve out for the first set in the ninth game, failed to convert a set point in the following game, but broke Kubot and Melo in the 12th game to win a tight opener.
In the second set, Kubot and Melo claimed two early breaks and opened a 5-2 lead -- but Ram and Salisbury got one break back in the eighth game after saving a set point. But Kubot and Melo kept their focus as they broke Ram and Salisbury for the third time in the set to force a decider.
Ram and Salisbury came up big in the third set
Reigning Australian Open champions Ram and Salisbury weren't affected by losing the second set as they cruised past the match tie-break to clinch their first win at the tournament this year.
In the opening match of the day, No. 5 seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic edged out third-seeded Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-7 (3) 7-6 (4) 10-7. Koolhof and Mektic paid the price for failing to serve out for the opening set in the ninth game as Krawietz and Mies then easily won the tie-break to win a tight opener.
Koolhof and Mektic blew a break in the second set as well but this time came up big in the tie-break and managed to force a decider. Krawietz and Mies led 7-5 after the opening 12 points of the match tie-break but then lost five points in a row as Koolhof and Mektic won the third set to complete a comeback win.
After the match, experienced Dutch Koolhof acknowledged that it was an extremely tight match but he was happy with the way he and Mektic performed. "In doubles, it always comes down to one or two points,” Koolhof said after the opening win, per the Nitto ATP Finals website.
“I think we actually played a pretty good match. We were up a break in both sets… The [Match Tie-break] was a rollercoaster. We were up and then we were 5/7 down. In the end, we managed to turn it around”. Mektic shared the same views as Koolhof as he said it was a tight match but he felt they were a bit better team.
"It was definitely a close one,” Mektic said. “I think through the entire match we felt like we were a little bit the better team. We were a little bit unfortunate in the first set… We kept saying to ourselves that we were good, we played good and [to] just keep digging. In the end, it paid off”.
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