ATP Tour

Klaasen boosts year-end finals hopes

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Raven Klaasen (AFP)
Raven Klaasen (AFP)

Chengdu - South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and American Rajeev Ram boosted their chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals as they captured their second ATP World Tour team title with a 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg in the final of the Chengdu Open in China on Sunday.

"This week we came with a goal in mind to improve our performance after the US Open," said Ram. "We felt like we didn't play as well as we could have there. We got through this whole tournament without losing a set. I think it’s a really good step in the right direction for us to finish of the season."

The South African/American duo are currently seventh in the ATP Doubles Race To London and bidding to qualify for the prestigious season finale for the first time. The Top 8 teams at the end of the regular season will make up the elite field.

Klaasen and Ram joined forces this season and made an instant impact, reaching the semi-finals in Chennai and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. They were runners-up in Miami, Geneva and ‘s-Hertogenbosch before capturing their first title together in Halle (d. Kubot/Peya).

A giant-killing run at Wimbledon then saw them defeat Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo and Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan to reach the semi-finals (l. to Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin).

After their semi-final win, Klaasen and Ram spoke of wanting to improve their finals record and the top seeds this week did not drop a set en route to the title. They were denied three set points in the 12th game of the first set before sealing the opener in a tie-break. Breaks were exchanged midway through the second set before Klaasen/Ram broke decisively in the 11th game and served out victory to love after 89 minutes.

"It’s their first time together but we know them pretty well individually," said Klaasen. "Carreno Busta is obviously playing some very good tennis at the moment. We were just talking about it. When he hits the ball, it's coming very hard. They combine really well as a left and right combination. We really had to play some good stuff out there to get the win. Pretty pleased with our performance."

The 33-year-old Klaasen captured his 11th ATP World Tour doubles title, while Ram lifted his 10th trophy. Carreno Busta and Fyrstenberg were seeking their first doubles title together.

Raven Klaasen and American Rajeev Ram (Picture credit: ATP World Tour)

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