The beauty of Newport’s ATP-250 event is mired in tennis history. Not many people know that the first US National Lawn Tennis Championship was played at Newport, Rhode Island in 1881. Later, the legendary grass courts took the shape of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and the tournament itself evolved into the US Open and it shifted from Newport to Forest Hills several years layer and became a hard-court tournament. The US Open is currently held at Flushing Meadows but the Newport Grass Court event is still intact and it has its lovers. It has been categorized as an ATP250 event and since it is staged immediately after the Wimbledon, it attracts only ATP’s second-tier players and especially those, who make early exit from Wimbledon. Be that as it may, this year’s men’s singles was won by American Rajeev Ram for the second time in his tennis career. Ram defeated Croatia’s big-serving second seed Ivo Karlovic in three sets on Sunday. In the men’s doubles final, the British/Pakistani pair of Jonathan Marray/Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi came from one set down to secure the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships doubles title after beating the unseeded American/Croatian combination Nicholas Monroe and Mate Pavic.
The American Rajeev Ram, who belongs to Denver progressed to the final after defeating big-serving compatriot and top seed John Isner in the first round after being down one match point against him. Then in the quarterfinal, Ram saved two match points against Frenchman and no.5 seed Adrian Mannarino. After Ram’s tenacity brought him into the title game, he faced second seeded Ivo Karlovic. Until 2012, the Croat held the fastest service record of 251 km/h, which was broken in the same year by Australia’s Sam Groth with 263 km/h. Ram, therefore, had to contend with one of the biggest serve-and-volley players in the final. Ram fought for almost an hour in the first set that went to tiebreak. The American won the tiebreak riding on Karlovic volleying into the net at the crunch time. Not to be outdone, the Croat came back strongly in the second set by sending down 7 thundering aces and held four break points against Ram. Karlovic won the second set after he converted one of those four points.
The third set also went to the tiebreak but Ram found his opportunities and held 4 championship points. After 2 hours 23 minutes, Rajeev Ram took the match from Karlovic at 7-6, 5-7, 7-6. The victory enabled Ram to join Top 100 players in Emirates ATP Rankings, announced on Monday. Ram’s Newport victory in the final also ended the three-year American title drought in the Rhode Island city and he became the third American to win multiple titles at this ATP World Tour grass-court event after Isner won in 2011-12 and Bryan Shelton did so in 1991-92.
In the doubles final, third seeded Jonathan Marray of Britain and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan defeated the American/Croatian combo of Nicholas Monroe/Mate Pavic. The British/Pakistani duo lost the first set but bounce back to take the next. Then the two pairs got engaged in the match tiebreaker before Marray/Qureshi clinched the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.
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