Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rajeev Ram (Who?) Achieves Newport Double

Probably the luckiest lucky loser ever, American Rajeev Ram made the most of his last minute entry into the Newport singles draw by taking home the ATP 250 title, defeating Sam Querrey 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3. As if that wasn't enough for the 181st ranked player in the world, he also won the doubles title in a super tiebreak with partner Jordan Kerr.

Crazily enough, Ram probably should have won this match more easily than he did, as he served for the first set, playing a pretty tight game to allow Querrey to break back and force the tiebreaker he eventually won. But Ram rallied valiantly in the second, and kept momentum through the third, leaving the always-chipper Querrey, an enormous favorite to win this final, shell-shocked.

In Sam's defense, I don't think anyone could have anticipated how well Ram would play today. Ram had not faced a player inside the top 100 on his way to the final, so it would have been only natural for a top fifty player like the third-seeded Querrey to consider him a push over.

Looking back at the ATP title winners of 2009, no previous champion comes anywhere near close to the longshot winner Ram is. Ram is the first lucky loser to win an ATP title since Sergiy Stakhovsky won Zagreb in 2007.

Hopefully the US Open (and some of the lead up tournaments) will reward Ram, who will still be well outside the top 100, with some well deserved wild cards. It's going to be interesting to see how Ram follows up this dream of a week.

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