ATP World Tour Finals: Kontinen/Peers defeat alternates Klaasen/Ram

Henri Kontinen and John Peers needed three sets to defeat the alternates Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, who stepped in for Herbert/Mahut who withdrew.

ATP World Tour Finals: Kontinen/Peers defeat alternates Klaasen/Ram
Henri Kontinen celebrate coming through Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram in a match tiebreaker (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Kontinen/Peers
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Klaasen/Ram

Henri Kontinen and John Peers defeated alternates Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 2-6, 6-1, 10-8. They advanced to the semifinal after Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut pulled out with Herbert sighting a back injury following practice on Thursday morning. 

Alternates get off to the perfect start 

It was the alternates Klaasen/Ram who came out sharper and in just the third game of the set, they had to come from love-30 behind to carve out a breakpoint chance. At the first time of asking, they broke the second seeds with the South African hitting a bullet forehand return winner which delighted him as he and Ram went ahead, 1-2.

Klaasen won four points in a row love-15 down to consolidate the break and get off to a wonderful start in their first match, 1-3. A missed forehand volley at the net by the Australian gave Klaasen/Ram breakpoints for a double break lead. 

Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram return the ball to Henri Kontinen and John Peers (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram return the ball to Henri Kontinen and John Peers (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

A beautiful delicate low return from Ram was met with an unforced error from Peers as he and Klaasen raced away to a 1-4 lead in less than 15 minutes. Up three game points, Kontinen took on an early return, flashing it long of the baseline to fall behind 1-5. 

The second seeds would get a second game on the board to ask the serve it out question to their opponents. 22 minutes on the clock, set points arrived for Klaasen/Ram, who wasted no time in sealing the set 1-6 with the 29-year-old Australian smacking a backhand long. 

Second seeds find a way back in the match to draw level

Almost immediately in the second game, the Finn/Aussie attempted to get back in the game by taking Klaasen/Ram to a deciding deuce point, also a breakpoint in their favor. This coming after Peers got lucky with a net cord, catching Ram off guard. 

But a serve and volley combination allowed the alternates to draw level with the second seeds at 1-1. But Kontinen/Peers found a way back into the match with Peers and Ram enthralled in a baseline rally only for the South African's attempted interception to find the net and fall two breakpoints behind. 

John Peers smashes an overhead with Henri Kontinen watching on (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)
John Peers smashes an overhead with Henri Kontinen watching on (Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

The 35-year-old's serve returned into the net sent the game to a deciding point but a double-fault handed the game and the break to the Finn/Aussie pair who went on to consolidate and turn the match in their favor at 3-1. Klaasen/Ram, however, remained dangerous, picking up a breakpoint on deciding point. 

Razor sharp instincts from the Finn did the job for he and Peers scraping through for 4-1. The pair would then break for a second time in two games, much like Klaasen/Ram in the opening set to serve the set out. Which they did 6-1 following an unreturnable serve. 

Second seeds win the match tiebreaker

Kontinen/Peers would start the breaker in fantastic fashion, breaking their opponents in the fourth game. Klaasen/Ram would win the next point but the second seeds would go on to break the alternates for a 6-2 lead thanks to Peers wonderful return.

Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram all smiles at the net shaking hands with Henri Kontinen and John Peers (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram all smiles at the net shaking hands with Henri Kontinen and John Peers (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

The African/American would win only their second point from the last nine with victory closing for the second seeds at 8-3. But Klaasen/Ram wouldn't lie down and after saving a match point at 9-5, they broke a game later followed by two holds of serves with the breaker closer than ever at 9-8. On their fourth match point, the second seeds closed out the breaker 10-8 and the match.