Rajeev Ram, a lucky loser from qualifying, made the most of his second chance by winning the ATP Hall of Fame Championship on Sunday, rallying to beat third seed Sam Querrey 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3 for his first ATP title.
The 25-year old Ram, a lucky loser after top-seeded Mardy Fish withdrew on Monday to replace Andy Roddick on the US Davis Cup team, won the first all-US final on Newport’s grass courts in seven years.
It was the first ATP final for Ram, the 181st ranked player entering the week, and the lowest ranked to win an event this year.
“These days don’t come around very often unless you’re [Roger] Federer or [Rafael] Nadal. There’s definitely pressure,” Ram said. “I tried to play tennis instead of thinking about what the moment was.”
“Winning tournaments is not normal on the tour for 99 percent of us,” he said.
After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, Ram decided to change his approach against the hard-serving Querrey late in the second set. With Querrey struggling on his first serves, Ram attacked the net against the second.
At 30-40 in the 12th game of the second set, Ram broke and sent the match to third set with a lunging backhand from close.
In the final set, Ram broke in the eighth game, winning with a well-placed forehand cross to go up 5-3. He raised both arms into the air after Querrey hit a forehand long on the match’s final point.
■HOME GIRL WINS TITLE
Hungary’s Agnes Szavay brought joy for the home fans as she claimed victory at the Budapest WTA event on Sunday, beating Switzerland’s top seed Patty Schnyder 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a final that lasted almost two hours.
Still, it was Schnyder who carried the first set on Sunday, taking the lead while fourth-seeded 21-year-old Szavay struggled with her serve. The Hungarian then fought back in the second set, winning it 6-4 and giving hope again to the home crowd.
Leading 5-1 in the third set, Szavay missed two match points before claiming the victory.