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Pro Media & News

2022 ATP Finals, Day 3: Ram stays perfect, Fritz hits shot of the week

Arthur Kapetanakis | November 15, 2022


Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury continued their bid to complete unfinished business at the ATP Finals on Tuesday in Turin. Doubles finalists at last year's event, the second-seeded pair improved to 2-0 this week and moved to the top of the Red Group with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

 

In singles, Taylor Fritz came within two points of extending his own perfect record on the week, but fell to US Open finalist Casper Ruud, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6), after saving two match points in the decisive tiebreak.

 
Doubles Delight

Ram and Great Britain's Salisbury claimed the final three games of the opening set to win it from 4-5, then broke serve for the second time in the match to lead 4-3 in set two. After saving two break points in the ensuing game—the only break points they faced—they powered through the finish line with their fifth love hold.

 

“The thing is, they've just gotten better and better over the year,” Ram said of Glasspool and Heliovaara, as quoted on ATPTour.com. “We knew we were going to be up against it and we had to bring our best level."

Ram and Salisbury are now in command of the Red Group, with one round-robin match to go against Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer. The US Open champions won their opening match, 6-3, 6-7(8), 10-8, on Sunday against seventh seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

 

Fantastic Fritz

In singles play, Fritz battled back admirably after a sluggish start saw Ruud race out to a 3-0 lead on the way to winning the opening set. After storming back in set two, Fritz pulled off the shot of the tournament to stave off a break point in the final stanza.

 

Facing ad-out at 2-2, the American approached the net off his forehand wing, sticking to the attacking gameplan that helped fuel his comeback. When Ruud dipped a passing shot low down the line, Fritz dove to the floor and flashed his athleticism and touch to play back an incredible backhand-volley winner.

 

So graceful was Fritz's flight that he was able to pop up in position to chase down the next ball, had Ruud been able to track down the stunning volley.

 

While he was unable to ride the momentum of the highlight-reel shot to victory, Fritz is still very much alive in the round-robin tournament with his 1-1 record. He will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday in what essentially amounts to a quarterfinal: the winner moves on to the semis, while the loser will see his tournament come to an end.

 

"It's going to be a lot of big hitting," Fritz said, previewing the matchup. "Kind of honestly how every match is going to go on this court. It's going to come down to protecting your serve well, maybe making something happen on the return game. It's really going to just come down to holding serve and playing my service games well," he said, alluding to the fast indoor conditions at the Pala Alpitour.

 

The American won the only previous match the pair have played as professionals, a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 win for Team USA at this year's ATP Cup.

 

Both Fritz and Auger-Aliassime beat Rafael Nadal and lost to Ruud, the American earning a 7-6(3), 6-1 win over the top-seeded Nadal to mark his ATP Final debut in style.

 

Read More: Fritz powers past Nadal in dream debut

On Wednesday in Turin, another American debutant will take the court. Austin Krajicek will team with doubles partner Ivan Dodig for a critical clash against Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, with both teams in search of their first win on the week.

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