Briton Joe Salisbury through to first grand slam final after doubles win

By Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent, Melbourne
PA Media: Sport

Britain’s Joe Salisbury will play in his first grand slam final after he and American partner Rajeev Ram defeated Kazakh duo Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin at the Australian Open.

Salisbury and Ram, the 11th seeds in the men’s doubles, recovered from losing their first set of the tournament to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

They looked in trouble when Salisbury dropped his serve early in the third set but Bublik, an unpredictable player at the best of times, served eight double faults across two games, five in the penultimate one, and Ram served it out.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Salisbury said of Bublik’s largesse: “That was a bit of a shock. I know he is renowned for going for big second serves. It was very tough serving at that end, but we were surprised he kept going for it. We will take it.”

Salisbury made the last four at Wimbledon two years ago as a wild card alongside Dane Frederik Nielsen, but he and Ram have since established themselves among the top doubles teams in the world, qualifying for the ATP Finals in November.

This is another big step forward, and 27-year-old Salisbury said: “It’s my first grand slam final, I am really excited.

“It’s almost a bit of relief to get through that. Even though it was our first grand slam semi-final together, we were probably favourites going into that match and it wasn’t the highest quality tennis throughout.

“We had to fight hard. We weren’t playing our best, but we stayed together as a team, supported each other, hung in there until the end. We are really happy and looking forward to the final.”

In the final on Sunday, Salisbury and Ram will face Australian wild cards Max Purcell and Luke Saville, who continued their brilliant run with a 6-7 (7) 6-3 6-4 victory over fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek.

Australia’s Max Purcell and Luke Saville (Lee Jin-man/AP)
Australia’s Max Purcell and Luke Saville (Lee Jin-man/AP)

Salisbury and Ram will go into the clash as favourites, and the Londoner said of the prospect of winning a first slam title: “It’s something I have always dreamed about doing,

“It’s the pinnacle of our sport. It would be unbelievable. That’s the goal of everything we are doing.”

What to read next