MELBOURNE, January 26, 2019
After 75 Grand Slam tournaments, US-American Rajeev Ram, clinches his first Grand Slam title with partner Barbora Krejčíková from the Czech Republic at the Australian Open on Saturday evening. This also marked the first time the No. 3 seeds competed with each other at a tournament.
The pair won the Australian Open mixed doubles, defeating Aussie pair, John-Patrick Smith and Astra Sharma, in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-1. Ram and Krejčíková kept their focus in the first set to clinch the tie-break in the match opener. The US-American and Czech duo got off to a quick start in the second set, going 3-0. In just 24 minutes, Ram and Krejčíková went on to win the second set in dominating fashion, 6-1.
The No. 3 seeded pair won 78 per cent of their first serve points, hit 19 winners and converted three of their 12 break point chances in an hour and 11 minutes of play.
“My partner is pretty good – her ranking is No.1 in the world, so it’s quite an honour to play with her, and for her to carry me to the title,” Ram said and Krejcikova replied, “Thanks for texting me at the beginning, so we could play.”
A career achievement, Ram’s only previous Grand Slam final appearance was a runner-up finish in the 2016 U.S. Open mixed doubles with fellow US-American CoCo Vandeweghe. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 34-year-old won a silver medal in the mixed doubles with partner, Venus Williams.
After an hour and six minutes, Ram and Krejčíková defeated María José Martínez Sánchez from Spain and Briton Neal Skupski in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4 during the semifinals. For the first time in his career, Ram advanced to the Australian Open final.
During quarterfinals, Ram and Krejčíková passed the test, defeating No. 5 seed Anna-Lena Grönefeld from Germany and Robert Farah Colombia, 6-2, 7-5. In the second round, Ram and Krejčíková came out strong against Poland duo Iga Świątek and Łukasz Kubot, winning the first set, 6-3. In another match tiebreak, Ram and Krejčíková defeated the wildcard pair, 6-3, 4-6, (10-5).
Ram and Krejčíková opened the tournament with an exhilarating match tiebreak against mixed pair, Timea Bacsinszky from Switzerland and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. The United States and Czech Republic duo clinched the victory 1-6, 6-2, (10-6) to advance to the second round.
Ranked No. 22 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, Ram is looking to move up after this monumental victory. Ram’s best finish came in 2017 when he ranked No. 11 in the ATP Rankings due to a 35-22 doubles match record and four ATP Tour titles.