Querrey To Face Ram In All-American Final
Old foes clash in Delray Beach final
Rajeev Ram will play for a third ATP World Tour title in as many final appearances after upsetting fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open on Saturday. The 31 year old will be in uncharted territory on Sunday, as his previous titles have come on the grass of Newport (2009 and 2015).
“I felt calm at the start of the match, I had a good game plan going out,” Ram said. “[Dimitrov] made some adjustments, but I thought I was pretty good the whole way.
“I wanted to make sure I was on offence a lot. I didn’t want to run side-to-side chasing his forehand.”
"He was returning well and putting me in uncomfortable positions," Dimitrov said. "There was just nothing out there on my side, but that's just one tennis match. Onto the next week."
The American all-courter improved to 6-4 on the year, with half of his victories coming against players in the Top 30 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. He also beat Kevin Anderson at the Australian Open and Bernard Tomic in Tuesday's first round. Ram’s controlled aggression served him well on a blustery day in Delray. He struck six aces, did not face a break point and is now 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against the Bulgarian.
“My career has always been about improving and enjoying myself," said Ram, who will reach a career-high ranking next Monday. "Some of the things I’ve worked on in the last eight month have really translated. Things such as switching to a bigger, more powerful racquet to stay on offence a bit more.”
Ram’s final opponent will be countryman Sam Querrey after the 28 year old ended Juan Martin del Potro's comeback bid with a 7-5, 7-5 victory under the lights on Saturday evening. Querrey is appearing in his first ATP World Tour final since falling to Denis Istomin on the lawns of Nottingham last year. It will be his 15th title match overall.
World No. 61 Querrey notched his first win in three FedEx ATP Head2Head battles with Del Potro and will look to claim a fourth consecutive victory over Ram in ATP World Tour events. They last met on the hard courts of Los Angeles in 2012, with Querrey emerging in straight sets.
"That's the best I've played so far and I did a good job of taking care of my own serve," said Querrey, who did not face a break point during the one-hour and 20-minute affair. "I got a couple late breaks in each set. There were a couple chances here and there and I managed to get those.
"It's always exciting to make a final. I've known Rajeev for 11 years. He's got that Pete Sampras flat forehand and will serve and volley. It's a different game from many guys. He'll chip the ball around. That will be tough, especially in the day."
Del Potro, meanwhile, saw his return to the ATP World Tour end after not dropping a set en route to the semi-finals. He downed Denis Kudla, John Patrick Smith and Jeremy Chardy in his first competitive matches in nearly one year. The former World No. 4 will next compete in Indian Wells after receiving a wild card into the first Masters 1000 event of the year.