27 January 2014
South Africa’s Raven Klaasen came up short of winning a first Grand Slam doubles title at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday, but came away from the tournament with his reputation enhanced.
Klaasen and his American partner Eric Butorac, who were unseeded, were beaten 6-3, 6-3 by the 14th seeds, Robert Lindstedt and Lukasz Kubot, in the final.
The champions’ victory was built on superb serving as they landed 80 percent of their first serves during the match. Klaasen and Butorac claimed some of the contest’s longest rallies, but couldn’t overcome the dominance of Lindstedt and Kubot on serve.
On their way to the final, Klaasen and Butorac saw off Australian favourites Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter 7-6, 6-4 in the first round. They then ousted 15th seeds Jamie Murray and John Peers 6-4, 6-4 before upsetting the top seeds and 15-time Grand Slam winners, Bob and Mike Bryan, 7-6, 6-4.
They had a tough clash against 12th seeds Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot in the quarterfinals, sneaking into the semi-finals 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, before thumping eighth seeds Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor 6-2, 6-4.
After the completing of the final, Klaasen was classy in defeat and after congratulating the winners and thanking his partner, support staff and family, he also thanked South Africans for their support.
‘I want to thank my country’
“I want to thank my country back home. Thanks to everyone back there, family, friends, media, thanks a lot you guys,” he said.
Klaasen and Butorac saw their excellent run rewarded in the ATP World Tour’s Doubles Team standings. They moved up to second place, while Klaasen improved from 45 to 30 in the doubles rankings, while Butorac moved up to 34th place from 48th.
Klaasen will return home to do duty for the South African Davis Cup team against Monaco from 31 January to 2 February at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria.