Third seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram successfully defended their doubles title at the ATP Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany on Sunday, streaking past second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Alexander Peva 7-6(5) 6-2.
The South African-American tandem improved to 18-12 this season, lifting their first trophy in three finals following runner-up finishes in Miami and Geneva. Last year, they captured their first title as a team in Halle.
‘It feels fantastic,’ said Klaasen. ‘We came here this week knowing we had a big 500 [Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings] points to defend. At the start of the week, I said to Raj to think back to what the plan was last year. We did more or less the same thing and got the same result, so I’m pumped about that.’
The opening set on Sunday did not feature a break of serve, as Klaasen and Ram converted their first set point in the ensuing tie-break. They would dominate the second, notching breaks in the third and seventh games, sealing the victory after one hour and 15 minutes. The duo, who split €114,070 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points, did not drop a set in defeating Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev in the quarter-finals and top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in the semis.
‘It was massive to win that first set,’ Klaasen added. ‘Fortunately, we were able to sneak over the hump in the tie-break. The last few points were really crucial. That freed us up play even better.’
Individually, Klaasen claimed his 10th ATP World Tour doubles title, while Ram hoisted his ninth trophy.
‘I think it’s the first time I’ve defended a title or won one in the same place,’ said Ram. ‘We had a great week. We only lost one set. We’re really excited about the way we’re playing. Last year was my first year here and I’m definitely coming back the rest of my career.’
In the picture,Klaasen, touring coach and fellow South African Jeff Coetzee and Rajeev Ram. Picture courtesy of Gerry Weber Open/KET