In their second match at the ATP World Tour Finals, the fifth seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers defeat the South African, American team Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour to go top of the group as they looked more and more like the doubles team to beat this week.
The duo can qualify for semi-finals in London on Wednesday. If Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut on Wednesday evening, Kontinen/Peers qualify. They'll also make the last four if the Frenchmen beat Lopez/Lopez in three sets.
Kontinen/Peers go up early
Coming off the back of their first round-robin win on Monday, Kontinen and Peers continued that winning feeling. In just the fourth game, Ram netted following a number of powered shots towards him. Klaasen then threw a double-fault in the very next point to gift the game to the fifth seeds at 3-1.
However, they almost gave the break back. A forehand return winner from the South African presented he and Ram with two break back points. An ace and a stunning volley from Kontinen and Peers brought the game to deuce before a change of tactics worked for the fifth seeds as they held serve and consolidated for 4-1 when Peers punched a forehand volley.
They continued to pile the pressure on their opponents and after attacking the Klaasen serve, Peers hit a volley down the middle to bring up two more break points. The 32-year-old then stepped up on serve allowing Klaasen to hit the high backhand volley winner to stay intact with their opponents at 4-2.
A hold to love from the recent Paris Masters champions put them within a game of the first set. Klaasen and Ram then held serve to put the pressure on Kontinen and Peers. But they dealt with the pressure by running away to a love-40 lead. An ace by the Aussie gave them the first set, 6-3 after half an hour.
Kontinen/Peers go top of the group
The fifth seeds continued their excellent start by gaining a breakpoint at the start of the set after Kontinen fired a powerful shot at Ram for 40-15. The seventh seeds leveled the game at deuce but a slice volley into the net from Ram allowed the fifth seeds to get off to the perfect start.
They held serve, consolidated and went ahead at 2-0. At 30-40 in the next game, the Finn fired a return to the racket of the South African, who then netted and a further break point went their way. Ram got the pair out of trouble by hitting a timely serve down the line to win the deciding point and get on the scoreboard at 2-1.
The fifth seeds, as they have done for the majority of the match, held serve to love with ease for a 3-1 lead. The seventh seeds were being put under pressure constantly during the match and once more, they faced a break point after Kontinen attacked Ram.
However, the American once more got he and Klaasen out of danger as they won the deciding point for 3-2. Both teams then held serve from then on in and with the fifth seeds up a break, they were left serving for the match at 5-4. A serve out wide followed by a smash from Peers brought up double match points. The pair only needed one chance to put away the match as the 26-year-old finished the contest off with a sliced backhand volley.