Andy Ram's return to singles play continued to go well on Thursday as he reached the semifinals of the Joyce Eisenberg futures in Ra'anana. The doubles star has not advanced this far in any singles event since reaching the semis at the Istanbul Challenger in September 2004.
In the quarterfinals, Ram, ranked 809 in the world coming in to the tourney, took out the fifth seed, Frederic Jeanclaude (616) of France, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2. Ram had his serve broken early and fell behind 2-4, but he fought back, broke his opponent to even the match at 5-5, and eventually took the set in a tiebreaker. Jeanclaude controlled the second set, which was the first set Ram lost this week. But Ram broke early and cruised in the third and deciding set for a spot in the semis.
He'll next face the tournament's No. 2 seed, Marcelo Melo (318) of Brazil, on Friday at noon. Melo eliminated the sixth seed, Ishay Hadash (625), 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
The earlier semifinal will pit last week's finalist at Ramat Hasharon, the eighth-seeded Dekel Valtzer (657), against Clemet Morel (784) of France. Valtzer ousted teenager Diego Cubas (1392) of Brazilian 7-6(3), 6-0. Morel beat Bosnian Ivan Dodig (852) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
The final will take place on Saturday at the Ra'anana Tennis Center.
In the Marjorie Sherman women's futures, Diana Bruel of France and Ukrainian Irina Khatsko will meet in one semifinal and Latvian Leva Irbe faces Veronika Raimrova of the Czech Republic in the other.
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