ATP Tour

Klaasen, Ram up to No 2 in ATP doubles race

2017-03-20 12:10
Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram (Photo credit: ATP World Tour)
Cape Town - The ratings internationally of South African tennis players slipping disconcertingly into the doldrums?

No sir! Not with evergreen Raven Klaasen raising the flag and now ranked the No 2 men's doubles combination in the ATP Race to London with American Rajeev Ram after their memorable success at the  Indian Wells Masters 1000 tournament over the weekend.

Holding onto the lofty status behind US Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers may be a challenging task for Klaasen and Ram, with an eager pack on their heels - starting with the Miami Masters tournament later in the week.
 
Klaasen, meanwhile, also regained a place among the top 10 individually-rated world doubles players by improving his 13th place to a current 10th ranking.

"Fast hands" were aptly described as the deciding factor when the sixth-seeded Klaasen-Ram combination scraped a narrow 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 10-8 victory in the final on Saturday against the eighth-seeded pairing of Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Brazilian Marcelo Melo.

And while Klaasen is now 34 and Ram enjoyed a doubly satisfying 33rd birthday while winning his first Masters title, the relative veteran pair confirmed that despite  their age they are two of the fittest and fastest doubles players in the world.

In the process of their Indian Wells triumph, Klaasen and Ram also savoured the special satisfaction of accounting for Rafael Nadal (partnered by Bernard Tomic) and Novak Djokovic (with Viktor Troicki) in earlier rounds, though the two great icons of tennis devote little of their time in competing in doubles events and usually use these rare appearances more to hone their singles play than anything else.

The unassuming, down-to-earth Klaasen, for his part, has now won 13 ATP doubles titles, which includes two prestige Masters events.

And he needs only an elusive Grand Slam title to round off an outstanding career in which he recognised his limitations at 29 to scale the heights as a top singles player to become a doubles master in the true sense of the word.

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