- Joe Salisbury and partner Rajeev Ram reached ATP World Tour Final on Saturday
- Pair will face veteran pair of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the final
- Salisbury and Ram enter as defending champions having clinched title last year
Joe Salisbury will fly the UK flag into the last day of the regular tour season once again after he and his doubles partner Rajeev Ram held their nerve to make the climax of the ATP Finals in Turin.
The Anglo-American duo will have the chance to defend their title after edging past Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger- Vasselin last night 7-6, 3-6, 10-7, going undefeated so far in the year-end championships.
They were on court as the curtain raiser to last night’s rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz to determine who will meet local hero Jannik Sinner in today’s singles final.
By the time the duo came on, US Open champions Salisbury and Ram were preparing for a showdown with the other form pair, the veteran Spanish- Argentinian pair of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.
Ram, 39, had needed to summon on the physio for treatment to a minor stomach muscle injury during an extremely tight-fought match, which was in doubt until the last point.
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram earned their place in the ATP World Tour Final on Sunday
Pair edged past Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin to book their place in the final
Excellent backhands from Salisbury brought them back from 2-4 in the first tiebreak to claim it 7-6. They were outplayed in the second set but in the deciding ‘champions’ tiebreak forged ahead to 4-1.
A brilliant volley from Salisbury helped keep them in front for 8-7, and Ram stayed steady to execute his final two serves to get them across the line 10-7.
Earlier in the day, Sinner sent his home crowd wild by becoming the first from the host nation to make the final of this event, thanks to a 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 victory over Russian Daniil Medvedev.
The ginger Italian from the Tyrol in the north of the country continues to rack up impressive numbers in the latter stage of the season and increasingly looks like he will be a fixture at the very top of the sport once he can properly stay over five sets.
Since overcoming illness on the Chinese swing of the tour, he has amassed a 8-0 record over top-10 opponents, including having beaten Djokovic in the round-robin stage of this event. It can be tempting to over-rate results at this time of year but that is more than just getting confident against his elite rivals.
Salisbury and Ram defeated Croatian pair Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic to lift the title last year
A measure of his talent is that he is the youngest player to have reached the climax of the ATP Finals while staying unbeaten since Roger Federer.
Under the tutelage of Australian Darren Cahill, his serve has markedly improved over the course of the season to add to the clean ball striking from the back of the court and impressive court coverage.
He was thus able to withstand the hugely aggressive forehand strikes of the Russian and he did not have his serve broken once, although he went down 7-4 in the tiebreak. He swept towards victory at the end, carried by the acclaim of a partisan crowd, and looks like he is ready to make a significant move next season.