Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich’s decision to take a step back and play on the
Challenger circuit in recent weeks has more than paid off, with the Israelis
winning their second straight title in Aptos, California, late Sunday
Ram and Erlich defeated Australians Chris Guccione and Matt Reid
6-3, 6-7 (6), 10-2 in the final, lifting their second piece of silverware in a
week after also triumphing in Vancouver.
Ram only returned to playing on
a full-time basis in late April after missing seven months following hip
surgery, dropping as low as No. 175 in the world last month. However, he
climbed 10 more places to No. 114 on Monday thanks to the victory in Aptos, with
Erlich moving up one place to No. 63.
“We are happy that we have managed
to maintain a good level over the past three weeks,” said Ram.
in the past month was to try and play together as many matches as possible and
regain our confidence ahead of the US Open.
The plan worked out perfectly
and this is very encouraging for the future.”
Ram and Erlich’s improved
form and growing confidence is also good news for Israel’s Davis Cup team ahead
of next month’s World Group playoff showdown with Belgium.
for Israel, the World Group playoffs were set for the weekend of September
13-15, with the middle day of the ties falling on Yom Kippur.
Tennis Federation initially refused to start the tie a day early or end it a day
late in order to avoid playing on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. After
the intervention of the International Tennis Federation, it was determined that
the tie would begin on Thursday rather than Friday, meaning the Israelis will
not be asked to play on Yom Kippur.
However, the change proved to be a
costly one for the Israel Tennis Association after it was forced to pay the BTF
around 10,000 euros in compensation.
“The Israel Tennis Association is a
nonprofit organization, which designates all of its funds to promote tennis in
Israel and develop Israeli tennis players,” read a letter written by ITA
chairman Asi Touchmair, which was posted on the association’s
“As a result, the high fine is a detrimental blow for the budget
of the professional program for the Israeli tennis teams and to Israeli tennis
Touchmair went on to suggest several ways in which his
“fellow Jews” can help the ITA, including buying tickets for the tie, purchasing
an official Israeli tennis team training suit at 200 euros or joining the entire
Israeli team for a dinner in Antwerp at the cost of 2,000 euros per
Meanwhile, Shahar Pe’er jumped 30 places to No. 83 in the world
on Monday after winning the Suzhou WTA Tour title on Saturday.
climbed almost 100 places in the rankings in less than two months after dropping
as low as No. 179 in late June.
Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal climbed one place
to No. 3 in the world after thumping Canada’s Milos Raonic 6- 2, 6-2 in the
final of the men’s Rogers Cup on Sunday to capture his eighth ATP title this
season and boost his confidence ahead of the US Open, which starts later this
Playing in his first tournament since his shock opening-round loss
at Wimbledon, Nadal showed he was back to near his best and his ailing body was
ready for the grueling demands of the North American hard-court
Less than 24 hours after his hardfought semifinal win over Novak
Djokovic on Saturday, Nadal easily beat the dangerous Raonic in just over an
hour, playing with all the conviction and freedom of a man near the peak of his
“To win here, I had to be playing my top level,” Nadal told
“I’m very happy the way that I played almost every match in
this tournament. It’s very important for me, this title.”
victory provided Nadal with his third win at the Rogers Cup and his 25th career
Raonic moved into the top 10 for the first time after
becoming the first Canadian man in more than half a century to reach the Rogers
“The breakthroughs I’ve had this week, with everything, from
ranking to results, it’s all great things to have happen, especially here at
home,” he said.
“Even though I don’t have the time now to sit back and
analyze, there will be a time when I can stop, reflect upon it, learn as much as
I can from it.”
While Nadal’s troublesome knees showed no signs of giving
him problems, they remain under constant scrutiny, especially when he’s
preparing for the US Open, played on the most physically demanding surface of
the four Grand Slam events.
But Nadal also won the Indian Wells Masters
on hard-court earlier this year and said he was steadily growing in confidence
on the surface.
“I am doing things very well on hard courts,” he
“Today is an important example that I can play this way in the
“That’s given me confidence, that if I keep working this way, I
can have good results playing very aggressive.”Reuters contributed to
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