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American doubles team make first semis

Americans Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram face off against No. 12 seeds Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
By Liz Kobak
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED: The all-American team of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram advanced to their first-ever Grand Slam semifinals on Tuesday after upending No. 12 seeds Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen, 6-3, 7-6, inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Americans never faced one break point in the 79-minute contest.

New York native Scott Lipsky, 33, having his best US Open doubles showing on home court, kicked off the match serving without dropping a point. Then Lipsky and the 30-year-old Ram began counterpunching Butorac’s lefty spin serve and poaching effectively for the first service break. Serving for the set at 5-3, Lipsky hit serves deep in the box and untouchable volleys to claim the 26-minute set.

"We just stuck together as a team," said Lipsky, who had not played in Ashe before Tuesday. "We served well [and] got the win against a very good team. We got each others' back."

Fighting humid conditions, the teams initially struggled in the second to convincingly hold serve. Dropping more points in their service games due to four double faults and their opponents’ winners, Butorac and Klaasen had more difficulty with holding serve. The American tandem, who hit 33 winners and only eight unforced errors, fell into that trend after missing a few makeable volleys and entering their first deuce game on-serve. Lipsky and Ram turned that right around when Ram hit a massive ace down the "T" to make it 4-all. Striking a clean backhand winner and low return at Butorac’s feet, the Americans got three break points, their first ones of the second set. The server barely held after Lipsky could not get returns in play. Rather than having a letdown, Ram served powerfully and pushed a tiebreak. Playing up the middle, Lipsky and Ram got the mini break. Their impeccable serving at 81 percent of service points won clinched the match on the third try.

WHAT IT MEANS: Lipsky and Ram turned in what was an impressive showing on both sides of the court. For a berth into the championship match, they will need to do more of the same - the duo will likely play the Bryan brothers next, the only other remaining all-American team.

THE QUESTION: How can Lipsky and Ram hang with the four-time US Open-winning Bryan brothers?