Rome, May 16 (IANS) The second-seeded Croats Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic on Sunday powered their way to their sixth Italian Open trophy, overcoming a tough challenge from fifth-seeded Rajeev Ram of the USA and Briton Joe Salisbury before winning the men’s doubles final 6-4, 7-6(4).
This was the Croatians’ third ATP Masters 1000 crown of the season, won in 84 minutes.
“It feels great and we’re very happy with the way we played the whole tournament,” said Pavic.
“We didn’t drop a set, so it showed how well we played throughout the week. It was a tough match. There were only a couple of chances in the first set before it became tighter in the second set from 6-0 to 6-4 [in the tie-break]. I hope we can keep going,” he said.
Mektic praised partner Pavic.
“Pavic hit some good returns in the tie-break. It was a tough second set and we struggled with the return, as this court [Foro Italico] is a little faster than the other courts. It’s been an amazing year, but we expected to do well [at the start of the year],” he said.
Mektic and Pavic, who follow into the footsteps of compatriot Goran Ivanisevic, who won the 1991 Rome doubles title with Italian Omar Camporese, are now 6-2 in 2021 championship matches.
Ram and Salisbury had lost to Mektic and Pavic 6-3, 7-6(5) in the Miami Open semi-finals last month.