ATP Tour

SA's Klaasen still on track for semi spot

2016-11-16 17:40
Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen (Getty Images)

London- South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and his American partner Rajeev Ram always knew that their second match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London was going to be a big hurdle.

Their opponents on Wednesday, Henri Kontinen (Finland) and John Peers (Australia) continue to look more and more like the doubles team to beat this week.

The fifth seeds improved to 2-0 on Wednesday, advancing past seventh seeds Klaasen/Ram 6-3, 6-4 in 64 minutes.

Kontinen/Peers saved all three break points against the South African/American pairing and remained perfect on serve at the season finale, having held all 20 service games during their two round-robin matches at The O2.

The Finnish/Australian pairing has now won their past seven matches, dating back to the team's maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title run earlier this month at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

The duo can qualify for semi-finals in London on Wednesday.

If Spaniards Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France on Wednesday evening, Kontinen/Peers qualify. They'll also make the last four if the Frenchmen beat Lopez/Lopez in three sets.

Kontinen/Peers, the youngest doubles pairing in the field, wasted little time during Wednesday's opening match. They broke for a 3-1 lead and consolidated the break when Peers punched a forehand volley. After less than a half hour, they had taken the first set.

Klaasen/Ram, who had knocked off the top seeds Herbert/Mahut in straight sets on Monday, held to love to get to 4-5 in the second set.

But they couldn't recover from dropping their serve in the opening game. Kontinen sliced a backhand volley on match point, and Klaasen/Ram fell to 1-1 in London.

It seems that the last match of the group round-robin for Klaasen/Ram on Friday against Lopez/Lopez could decide which team from the Fleming/McEnroe Group go through to the semi-final on Saturday.

Jeff Coetzee touring coach of Klaasen/Ram said that the better team on the day came out tops on Wednesday.

“Kontinen/Peers are the inform team on the tour at the moment and their aggressive attacking game complimented by strong serving and solid volleys makes them a real tough team to beat. My boys never gave themselves a chance to get into the match by being broken early in the opening set and first game of the second set. Kontinen/Peers are very good front runners.”

Coetzee added that the only chance of beating Kontinen/Peers was for Klaasen/Ram to stick with their opponents and take every opportunity thrown their way which unfortunately they were not able to do on Wednesday.

“But despite today’s loss, Raven and Rajeev are upbeat and will regroup and put in a solid practise on Thursday and be well prepared to give themselves their best chance in Friday’s crunch match,” ended Coetzee.


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