erlich and ram 298.88.
(photo credit: Getty Images/Pilot Pen Tennis)
Andy Ram's and Yoni Erlich's Masters Cup fate is no longer in their own hands, after the Israeli duo lost 6-4, 7-5 to Martin Damm and Leander Paes on Tuesday.
If Ram and Erlich wish to advance to the semifinals of the prestigious event, not only will they need to defeat Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi in their final round-robin match in Shanghai on Thursday, but Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett must also lose to Damm and Paes.
Should Thursday's matches end in any other way the Israelis will finish third or fourth in the group. Hanley and Ullyett can secure a top two finish with a win on Thursday, thanks to their 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over defending champions Bjorkman and Mirnyi on Tuesday.
Damm and Paes, who won more than 72 percent of their service points against the Israelis on Tuesday, have now defeated Ram and Erlich in three of their last four meetings.
The Israelis opened the match with a love service game, but Ram had to have treatment on his back after their opponents tied the score by taking the subsequent game.
Back pain limited Ram throughout the match and Damm and Paes took advantage in the seventh game of the first set, breaking serve after Erlich sent a backhand into the net. The Czech/Indian duo held their serves for the remainder of the set and Paes hit a smash winner on the team's first set point in the 10th game.
Damm and Paes consolidated their lead with a break of serve in the first game of the second set. The duo held serve to love in the following game and seemed to be cruising to a straight sets win. The Israelis, however, raised their play in the eighth game of the set and broke for the first time in the match thanks to a wonderful lob by Ram.
Damm and Paes would, nevertheless, regain the lead in the 11th game, breaking for a second time.
Ram and Erlich couldn't muster another comeback and the duo fell to a disappointing defeat after Erlich sent a backhand return long.
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