By Mark Etheridge
Former Australian Open doubles finalist Raven Klaasen bowed out in the quarter-finals of the the 2015 tournament on Tuesday.
Partnered by United States player Rajeev Ram, Klaasen’s campaign came to an end on show-court No2 as he lost to the combination of Great Britain and Brazil’s Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
The 13th seeded Klaasen and Ram started off brightly enough by taking the first set 7-3 in a tiebreaker in 55 minutes of action.
But their seventh-seeded opponents bounced right back to win the second set 6-4 in 44 minutes. The final set also went the way of the latter pair, also in 55 minutes and also ending 7-3 in the tiebreak.
The South African/US combination matched their higher ranked opponents in pretty much every facet excepting for where it counted.
Aces were shared at six apiece, they had no double faults compared to Murray and Soares’ three, successful first services were 65% each and they shaded points won on first serve at 82 to 81%.
It was pretty much a crucial break point, the only one of the game, that changed the momentum.
Klaasen and Ram even hit 16 more winners than their opponents and made four less unforced errors.
But as is so often the case at the cutting edge of sport, it’s the small things that make a big difference.
Travelling coach Jeff Coetzee told Road to Rio 2016 while Klaasen was busy with doping control: ‘It was a tough one, tactically I must say both teams played well and Soares/Murray came up with a good, good point 2-1 in the third set tie breaker to give them that extra momentum.
‘Raven’s going to go home now and will then play Delray in US, Acapulco in Mexico, then a week off before Indian Wells and Miami.’