Croatian Ivan Dodig and Slovakian Filip Polasek won their first Grand Slam Championship tag team title on Sunday at the Australian Open.
The ninth seed hit 26 winners after the fifth seed and defending champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in a 6-3, 6-4 victory in 88 minutes at Melbourne Park.
“Since we started playing a year and a half ago, we really love and play good tennis,” said Dodig, who won the 2015 Roland Garros trophy with Marcelo Melo. “We are having a lot of fun and I hope it continues.”
Polasek said: “Usually I’m the one who’s the highest and the lowest. Ivan is always the constant member of the team … He takes me through the times when I don’t hit very well. But today , I picked it up (back) from the start. I was just trying to keep going as long as possible. “
Dodig and Polasek, who were playing their sixth major championship as a team, won 28 of 32 first serve points for their third tour-level crown. Two years ago, they won trophies at the Cincinnati Western & Southern Open (d. Cabal / Farah) and the Beijing China Open (d. Kubot / Melo).
Polasek came out of retirement in 2018 after a five-year absence following a back injury. Two days ago, 35-year-old partner Karin gave birth to their second daughter, Olivia-Victoria, in Bratislava.
Ram saved six break points at 2-3 in the first set at Rod Laver Arena, but Dodig and Polasek hit three groundstroke winners to break Salisbury at 15 for a 5-3 advantage.
After hitting 16 winners in the first game, Dodig and Polasek continued to play aggressively in the second set, again defeating Salisbury with a forehand winner in the seventh game. Ram saved a service set point at 3-5, 30/40, but Polasek coldly finished a few minutes later.
“[From start to finish], I thought [Polasek] played really well, Ram said. “We tried different things. I’m proud of the way we competed. [I] I felt like we had maybe a half-look in the second set. [They were] just a little too good for us today.
Salisbury said: “We tried to change things. We started to serve a little more in [Polasek’s] body, trying to change the rhythm a little bit [and]… where we were going to the net. At the end of the day, we just needed to serve better. I don’t think any of us were doing our best.
Dodig and Polasek beat Ram and Salisbury in their first clash 6-3, 6-7 (5), 10-7 in the quarter-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters 2019, before Ram and Salisbury took revenge for a few Weeks later, 3-6, 6-3, 10-6, in the round robin phase of the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.
Ram and Salisbury had tried to become the first team to retain the Australian Open doubles title since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won three straight titles in Melbourne between 2009 and 2011. The US-UK squad is now 3-4 in the round level final. .
On Saturday, Ram won his second mixed doubles title at the Australian Open in three years with Barbora Krejcikova, after beating Matthew Ebden and Samantha Stosur 6-1, 6-4.