Tennis: Erlich powers into doubles quarters

January 25, 2010 05:38

Yoni Erlich's amazing run in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open continued on Sunday.

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Tennis: Erlich powers into doubles quarters

yoni erlich 248 88. (photo credit: AP)

Yoni Erlich's amazing run in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open continued on Sunday after the Israeli and Frenchman Arnaud Clement advanced to the quarterfinals in Melbourne with a 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 victory over Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer.

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Since returning from an eight-month injury layoff last April, the 32-year-old Erlich has struggled desperately, dropping all the way down to number 278 in the world rankings last September.

Erlich entered the Aussie Open ranked No. 190 and with plenty of pressure on his shoulders, knowing that this would be the final tournament with which he could qualify for with his protected ranking.

A player injured for a minimum of six months can ask for a protected ranking, which is based on his average ranking during the first three months of his injury. Erlich won just four of his 16 ATP Tour matches since making his return and another early exit in Australia would have meant he would have had to settle for participation in Challenger events for the near future due to his lowly ranking.

However, by reaching the last eight in Melbourne, Erlich has already guaranteed himself of climbing around 90 places in the rankings, meaning he will be able to enter small ATP tournaments directly.

"I haven't had a winning streak since my comeback and I'm very excited ahead of the quarterfinals," said Erlich, who comes up against No. 2 seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the last eight. "Every win helps my ranking, but we are now facing a dominant team."

Erlich's former partner, Andy Ram, is the only other Israeli still playing in Melbourne Park. Ram and Elena Vesnina face Anna-Lena Groenfeld and Christopher Kas in the second round of the mixed doubles tournament on Monday.

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