ATP Indian Wells: Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram defeat Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo to win the first Masters title of the year

ATP Indian Wells: Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram defeat Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo to win the first Masters title of the year

Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram came from a set behind to win the Indian Wells title in three sets against Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

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Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram defeated Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-7(1), 6-4, 10-8 to win the BNP Paribas Open title. 

Kubot/Melo win the opening set via tiebreaker

The final kicked off with a hold by the pair of Kubot and Melo. A deciding/break came in the second set despite the eighth seeds having two game points. They avoided going down early and won the deciding point to also get on the scoreboard. Two games later at 40-30, all four players were locked in a rally with the sixth seeds doing most of the defending, with Klaasen using excellent reflexes at the net until Ram f slotted a volley past Melo to win the point and hold for 2-2. For the second time in as many games, Kubot/Melo found themselves needing a deciding point to win the game, which they did as the match kept on serve at 2-3.

Lukas Kubot hits a shot with partner Marcelo Melo looking on (Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Lukas Kubot hits a shot with partner Marcelo Melo looking on (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Under pressure once more at 3-3, the American/African team for the third game in a row saved a break point and won the deciding point to stay in this final and hold for 4-4. Just two games later, a set point arrived for the sixths seeds, taking Kubot and Melo to a deciding point. But once again, Kubot/Melo stood tall, won the crucial point and kept this set alive, 5-5. With Kubot/Melo camped at the net, Ram hit a lob from the baseline over Kubot to bring up a further two break points. But as they have done all match, Kubot/Melo dug in and saved both break points to go 5-6 up. The sixths seeds held serve and sent the set to a tiebreaker. The breaker was dominated by the eighth seeds, who ran away 1-7 winners to grab the set, 6-7(1).

Klaasen/Ram fight back 

The second set started with two holds of serve with the set at 1-1. In the third game, Kubot/Melo brought up double break points at 30-40. Locked in a rally, Klaasen netted which gave the eighth seeds the full momentum. Klaasen/Ram then went on to consolidate to go 1-3 up with the sixth seeds facing an uphill task at this moment. But their luck was beginning to change. In the seventh game, Klaasen/Ram was sent to a deciding point, which was also a break point to the pair of Kubot/Melo.

Raven Klaasen smashes a volley at the net with partner Rajeev Ram behind (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Raven Klaasen smashes a volley at the net with partner Rajeev Ram behind (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The American/African pair held serve before applying pressure to their opponents and three break points were brought up. But they only needed one chance to break back before holding serve to go 5-4 up on Kubot/Melo, whose luck was beginning to fade. Up 30-15 in the very next game, the South African ripped a forehand winner return from Melo's serve to bring up a triple break/set points arrived. Kubot/Melo had to dig in deep and so they did taking the game to a deciding point but with a break/set point still up for grabs, Klaasen found an opening and slotted a forehand between Kubot/Melo to win the set, 6-4. 

Klaasen/Ram win the match tiebreaker to clinch title

At the start of this breaker, both teams could not be separated with all eight points being won by the server with the crucial breaker at 4-4. The next game saw a break of serve go the way of Kubot/Melo with Klaasen overcooking a simple volley at the net, 4-5. The Pole/Brazilian pair won the next point also to take a 4-6 lead. But they soon found themselves level at 6-6 after allowing Klaasen/Ram back into the set.

Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram celebrate winning the Indian Wells title (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram celebrate winning the Indian Wells title (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The sixths seeds were constantly being put under pressure and lost serve the next point to fall behind but soon drew level at 7-7 before. Down one again at 7-8, Kubot got tight on return and netted to allow Klaasen/Ram to get level once more at 8-8. The sixths seeds then won the next point with a championship point arriving at 9-8. The title was clinched by the eighth seeds with Marcelo Melo sending a volley beyond the baseline. 

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