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Articles > Ram and Erlich Advance to Final Round Play in Cincinnati, Next Stop Beijing

August 3, 2008

Yom asal, yom basal. So goes the Arabic saying familiar to Israelis – one day honey, one day onions. It was onions for the Israeli tennis duo of Andy Ram and Jonathan (Yoni) Erlich last week in Toronto, where the #3 ranked doubles team fell in second round play (after getting a bye in the first round) at the Masters Series Rogers Cup.

But it was honey this week, as the Israelis, regrouping for their next Masters event, advanced to the finals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, an event they won last year. It was déjà vu all over again when the Israeli pair faced twins Mike and Bob Bryan, whom they had defeated 4-6, 6-3, 13-11 last year to win their first ATP Masters Series shield. This year, the defending champs fell to the top seeded Bryans 4-6, 7-6, 10-7. After taking the first set, the third-seeded Israelis were up 2-0 in the second set but eventually lost the set on a tiebreak. Recently adopted ATP rules call for a super-tiebreak in the event that a third set is needed - the first team to 10 points with a two-point margin is awarded the set and the match.

Ram and Erlich started 2008 of in a big way when they won their first doubles grand slam event at the Australian Open, becoming the first Israeli Grand Slam Champions in the Open era. They also won the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells in early March, but have had a tough road of it since, failing to advance beyond the quarterfinals in any event until this week.

En route to their runner-up finish in Cincinnati, Ram and Erlich defeated Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in quarterfinal play, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5). The latter were winners of the Doubles draw at Wimbledon and currently sit atop the ATP Doubles rankings.

After the final match, Yoni Erlich told a reporter, “Although we are disappointed with today(’s results)… we had a great week, (something that) we didn’t have for two of three months. I think we’re back on track. We gain a lot of confidence here going into the Olympics and then the U.S. Open, which was very important for us.”

Ram and Erlich will join the rest of the Israeli Olympic delegation as they make their way to Beijing for next week’s competition. Obviously our goal is the gold medal,” added Erlich. “I think we’re good enough. Hopefully we can perform.”

As Zimonjic is Serbian and Nestor is Canadian (despite family roots in Serbia) the two will not be competing as a pair in Beijing. As a result, the Bryan brothers are seeded first, and Andy and Yoni are seeded second, meaning that the two can only meet in the final.

In the meantime, Yoni and his wife are expecting their first child in mid-August. So – kein eyn hara - mazel tov's may be in order all around!

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