ATP Finals 2020: Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram beaten in semi-finals

Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram
Salisbury (left) would have been the second Briton to reach a final at the season-ending championships after Andy Murray in the singles in 2016

Briton Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram agonisingly missed out on the doubles final of the ATP Finals and the world number one ranking.

The pair led by a set and a break, and were 7-1 up in the match tie-break, but lost 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 11-9 to Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer.

Australian Open champions Salisbury and Ram also had a match point in the tie-break but were denied.

Salisbury, 28, was aiming to become the event's first British doubles finalist.

Victory would have meant ending the year as the top pairing after a season featuring their maiden Grand Slam title together as well as a US Open semi-final and French Open quarter-final.

Salisbury had to self-isolate in the build-up to the tournament after his coach tested positive for coronavirus and said the pair "had not played very well" on their way to the last four.

"It's tough losing that but I don't really feel like we deserved to be in the final," he said.

"It wasn't a great quality tie-break. We were up a lot but they hit two double faults. Obviously, we should win from that point."

Having won a tight first set, Salisbury and Ram broke in the first game of the second and were comfortable.

But Ram missed a simple volley on serve which would have given them a 3-1 lead and their opponents won five games in a row en route to winning the set.

The British-American pair dominated the early exchanges of the tie-break but France's Roger-Vasselin and Austrian Melzer produced a remarkable comeback, sealing victory on their first match point when Melzer hit a winner between Ram and Salisbury at the net.

They will play Dutchman Wesley Koolhof and Croatia's Nikola Mektic in Sunday's final (15:30 GMT).

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