Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram became only the second team in the open era to successfully defend the US Open men’s doubles title.
With Neal Skupski and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof on the other side of the net, there was definitely a British winner, and it was London’s Salisbury and American Ram who came out on top of a tight race, winning 7- 6 (4) 7-5.
It is the third Grand Slam title together for Ram and Salisbury, who also won the Australian Open in 2020, and follow in the footsteps of Australian greats Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, the latest team to win consecutive titles in New York. York in 1995 and 1996.
The win also means that Salisbury, who has also won two mixed doubles titles, maintains number one in the world rankings. Skupski would have passed him if he and Koolhof had raised the trophy.
Salisbury said, “It’s pretty crazy. I just can’t believe we’re standing here again. It is so special to play in this incredible stadium and to have that piece of history, to have won this two times in a row, is incredible. “
It has been a mixed season for the world’s number one duo, with Salisbury plagued with a back problem and some painful defeats, not least having scored five match points in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Salisbury said: “It’s very sweet. Especially as we finished the last two Grand Slams, we had match points at the French Open and Wimbledon and we lost both games.
“Coming here and getting the win and coming back from some tough situations in some games makes it really special. I think we are a bit shocked that we have been able to win this twice in a row and above all to support what we did last year. “
Both British players showed their respects to the queen, Salisbury with a black armband and Skupski a black ribbon on his shirt.
As expected, there was little to choose from among the teams throughout Arthur Ashe Stadium. The first set was particularly tight, with a nervous first game of Skupski serving him in his first men’s double slam final, the only slight opening until the tie-break.
Koolhof and Skupski, who won six titles in a brilliant season, seemed to have created a solid 4-1 lead, but some nice response from Salisbury and Ram helped them get six straight points to take the set.
The first break came in the third game of the second set, when constant pressure from Koolhof and Skupski saw Ram drop his serve, but he and Salisbury responded quickly.
The pressure on the second-seeded was building and, with Skupski serving at 5-6, they created a first match point, beating him to a Salisbury win.
Skupski felt that he and Koolhof had not found their best form, saying: “I think it was really close, with thin edges. I don’t think tennis has been great. I think you will still have him in the final. There is a little more nerves.
“But I feel like I didn’t do my best on my part or maybe the team didn’t behave as well as we could, as we have done in the two weeks.
“But Joe and Rajeev play good and they don’t let you play good. This is why they are the champions and have also been at the top of the table for some time.
“On a personal level, very disappointing, but also fantastic to make my first Grand Slam doubles final among men.”
On a whim of fate, all four players represent the nations that will play in the same Davis Cup group in Glasgow next week and both partnerships could be on opposite sides of the net.