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(photo credit: EPA)
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich booked a place in the last four of the Open Seat Godo in Barcelona on Thursday by edging Polish duo Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in the quarterfinals of the $900,000 tournament.
The Israelis, who are No. 7 in the ATP Doubles Race and seeded third in the tournament, will be looking to reach their third final of the year on Saturday when they face either the top seeded Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor, or the Spanish duo of Rafael Nadal and Bartolome Salva-Vidal.
Neither team could reach a break point in the first set of Thursday's last eight matchup, but Ram and Erlich were more composed in the tiebreaker and wrapped up the set with ease.
The Israelis got the first break of serve of the match in the fifth game of the second set, but the fifth seeded Poles broke back immediately and tied the score.
Once again, a set had to be decided by tiebreaker and once more the Israelis dominated by winning the first five points of the breaker before completing the straight-set win.
Ram and Erlich will return to Israel after their road in Barcelona ends to take part in the Israel Tennis Center's tennis festival on May 1-2 at Ramat Hasharon.
The duo will split up and team with the world's 19th ranked women's player, Patty Schnyder, and with Shahar Pe'er in an exhibition mixed doubles match. Also Wednesday, Pe'er and Schnyder will play each other in a singles match.
"This is a great opportunity to see world class stars up close," Israel Tennis Association CEO Janine Strauss said. "All the proceeds will go towards nurturing champions from the Israel Tennis Center's from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Ofakim in the south."