American Rajeev Ram and Britain’s Joe Salisbury rallied from a set down to beat India’s Rohan Bopanna and Australian Matthew Ebden 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to win an Open-era record third straight US Open men’s doubles title.
The third seeds dropped their rackets and embraced in the middle of the court after Ebden’s return landed in the net on match point to complete the comeback and extend their winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 18 matches.
“I’ve got to thank my partner,” Ram said during the trophy ceremony, where they collected a winner’s check for $700,000. “This is our fifth year together. It hasn’t been the best of seasons, but we stuck it out, put in a lot of hard work and just kept believing. I can’t believe we’re here. Thanks for that, man. You’re unbelievable.”
Salisbury called the partnership “special.”
“We just know we’re going to give it our all,” he said. “We’re going to compete hard, fight hard and do our best until the very end. And that’s what we did today.”
Ram and Salisbury arrived in New York on a three-match losing streak and acknowledged losing some confidence. That’s partly why Salisbury cried into a towel on his chair after the match ended.
“I don’t think I have ever cried after any matches, especially not ones that we have won, even at the Grand Slams,” Salisbury said. “But yeah, there is something about being here, about doing it again, and I think doing it after the year we have had. We have had some struggles, had some pretty low times.”
Sixth-seeded Bopanna and Ebden dominated the first set, breaking serve in the opening game and capturing it with a love hold.
They appeared to be carrying the momentum into the second set when the 43-year-old Bopanna raced across court and ripped a one-handed backhand winner down the line in the third game.
But Ram raised his level and the duo finally broke serve in the second set when Bopanna’s forehand sailed long for a 4-2 lead before they leveled the contest with a Ram ace out wide.
An aggressive Bopanna forehand landed wide to hand Ram and Salisbury a break and a 3-2 lead in the deciding set that they would not relinquish on a hot and humid day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The last pair to win three straight US Open men’s doubles titles were Tom Bundy and Maurice McLoughlin from 1912 to 1914.
Bopanna, who showed remarkable sportsmanship when he told the chair umpire to give a point to his opponents after Ebden’s winner had grazed his elbow in the third set, said having the right…