Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will seek their third title of the year Sunday when they face top seeds Paul Hanley and Leander Paes in the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. The second seeded Israelis, who won the title at the inaugural Bangkok event in 2003, defeated the third seeds, Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Australian Todd Perry, 6-5(5), 6-2 in Saturday's semifinal.
The tournament is among the first to experiment with the ATP's new scoring system for doubles, which includes sets going to tiebreakers if tied at 5-5, as opposed to 6-6.
Since losing their first set of the tournament Thursday to Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Luis Horna of Peru, Ram and Erlich have won six straight. Their results so far will see Ram and Erlich climb from ninth in the yearly world rankings to seventh. Only the top eight teams are invited to the year-end Masters Cup in November in Shanghai.
So far this year they have won in Rotterdam and Nottingham, while reaching finals in Los Angeles and Montreal. Ram and Erlich have won five career ATP Tour titles together.
Hanley of Australia and India's Paes are playing together for the first time in their respective careers. They are both among the top 20 in the ATP's individual doubles rankings.
The doubles final will be played on center court shortly following the singles final between world No. 1 Roger Federer and young Scottish talent Andrew Murray.
Shahar Pe'er's hopes of playing for her first WTA Tour title were put on hold earlier on Saturday when Pe'er's doubles partner, Vera Douchevina, was injured during the semifinals of the Korean Open in Seoul. The Israeli/Russian duo was trailing American Jill Craybas and South African Natalie Grandin 3-6 when Douchevina, who was bothered by a right foot sprain, decided she couldn't go any further.
Nevertheless, the pair's showing in just their third tournament together leaves hope for bright things to come.
Pe'er is scheduled to play this week at the Japan Open in Tokyo.
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