Rajeev Ram and Eric Butorac Blog from Australian Open
ERIC: We had a very tough 6-7 (3) 6-4 7-6 (3) win today over Leonardo Mayer and Horacio Zeballos and as a result we'll get to face the Bryan twins in the fourth round, who communicate better than any other paring in the world. But at least we are guaranteed to have at least one U.S. team in the quarterfinals. We played a great third set tiebreaker. The best thing to do is making your first serves, hit your spots and let the return points come. On return points we take some good swings and see what we can do.
RAJEEV: In the breaker, I hit one good return and then Eric hit a great one. We had trouble seeing their serves all day and it came down to hitting a couple of good shots at the right time. And we got one free one because I hit a horrible shot and one of them missed a complete sitter at the net.
ERIC: There was a lot of sun and wind out there and that's where just getting ball in play on a return is important. Those guys aren't the most comfortable volleyers and are more comfortable bashing forehands, so just putting a ball into play gives you a good chance.
RAJEEV: We're happy to get to the second week as this matches my best result at a Slam. But we are looking long term. We played five events together last year and won two of them and didn't team up together full time until after the US Open. I was playing with Bobby Reynolds and Eric was playing with Scott Lipsky. Then Bobby got hurt and we decided to give it a go.
ERIC: At the US Open a lot of teams are re-pairing and we were both looking for something more stable for the fall.
RAJEEV: We won Bangkok right off the bat and then reached the semis of Valencia and Moscow. The big thing is continuity.
ERIC: We started to beat a lot of the top teams and we realized that if we stick together we could make the ATP World Finals because only about 15 teams stay together throughout the year. There's so much switching that if you stick it out and get a few good results you can get in there. There are teams we think we are just as good as that got in just because they stuck together.
I have to follow Rajeev around this year because he has his singles ranking up [No. 85], but that's fine because it's not like I would be looking forward to going to South America and playing on clay. We're going to hit the American indoor and spring hardcourts events hard.
RAJEEV: It helps to get along off court because you spend a lot of time together anyway.
ERIC: Our on court chemistry is the best. We're both pretty laid back but still positive and fiery enough where we can pick each other up if things aren't going that well. I've played with partners in the past who get real angry when things don't go well and it's nice to have a guy who doesn't explode on me out there. We both have a similar temperaments, but upbeat enough where we can raise it when it counts.
RAJEEV: From the first time we played together we've played pretty well. We weren't great and still have room for improvement, but there were certain things that worked pretty well right from the beginning.
ERIC: We paired together randomly the first time at Queens and I had to play the ad side [Butorac is left-handed] and I've played the deuce court 90 percent of my career and we did well there. We tried it again in Chennai and we won and even though I didn't feel that great in the ad court, we kept winning.
RAJEEV: We've won a lot of matches where we didn't feel that great and we still managed to get through. That has a lot to do with chemistry. We don't have to play our best to win, and then when we do, we are very tough to beat.
ERIC: We both serve well and don't get broken much. We've only been broken three times in six sets and that allows us to swing away on our returns because we know we are very tough holding.
RAJEEV: We are in this draw by the skin of our teeth and there are teams that are more experienced than we are and its going to take a really good effort for us to get by the Bryans, as it will be our best result at a Slam. The Bryans take team chemistry to a new level.
ERIC: They never have a really bad match.
RAJEEV: Even when they are playing awful they are still positive, still jumping around and it makes you feel like they are still in it. Their heads are never down and that goes a long way. Maybe more in doubles than singles.
ERIC: I'm from Minnesota and a huge Vikings fan so I'm planning on getting up early and watching their game against the Saints tomorrow, which is Monday here and Sunday back home.
RAJEEV: I'm from Indiana and I'm a big Colts fans so I'm doing the same for the Colts against the Jets. We're going to go wherever we have to to watch those games.
ERIC: Our two teams might end up playing each other in the Super Bowl, which could make for a little turmoil when we are playing the tournament in Johannesburg the week after the Australian Open. Our team chemistry might then be in jeopardy:
Wish us luck,
Eric and Rajeev