Ram Routs Groth to Win Leon Challenger

by John on April 6, 2014

Rajeev Ram

American Rajeev Ram thrashed big-serving Sam Groth 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the Leon Challenger in Mexico Sunday afternoon. Ram, seeded fifth, broke Groth twice in each set and never lost his serve in thoroughly dominating the Australian in just 66 minutes. The title was the lanky 6-foot-4 American’s sixth on the Challenger circuit. Ram picked up his lone Tour title at Newport in 2009. For Groth, who along with Frenchman Albano Olivetti are unofficially dubbed the Top Guns of Fast Serve, it was a bad day at the office. The seventh-seeded Australian’s first serve percentage was a paltry 44 percent, and the big guy had but three aces after coming in with 70 in his first four matches on the week. Ram had three in the final game of the match and eight for the day. The American served lights out, winning 75 percent of the points on both his first and second serves. Ram, now 30-years old, improved to 3-0 lifetime against Groth, winning all six sets. Groth, who won his first Challenger title two weeks ago at Rimouski, can take solace in achieving a new career high in tomorrow’s updated ATP rankings. The 26-year-old Aussie will improve 17 spots from his current high to No. 136 in the world. Groth has been on a bit of a roll since last fall, reaching the finals of three of his past seven Challenger tournaments. He’s also appeared in four tour-level events this year, posting a 2-5 record and reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane. The loss Sunday drops Groth’s record to 1-4 in Challenger finals. “Today Raj was just too good for me,” Groth said. “He played a great match, he played very well. For me this was an unbelievable week, playing in two finals and winning the doubles yesterday.” Groth partnered with fellow countryman Chris Guccione to win the doubles. Ram saved all three of the break points against his serve, while Groth defended five of nine.

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