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Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich lost their fourth straight final match on Sunday when they went down 5-3, 5-4(2) to top seeds Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor at the BA-CA Tennis Trophy in Vienna. The Israelis previously lost with the title on the line two weeks ago in Bangkok, at Montreal in August and at Los Angeles in July.
Their last title came at Nottingham in a Wimbledon tune-up in June.
Nevertheless, Ram and Erlich will climb from ninth into a tie for seventh in the ATP Doubles race rankings that will be released on Monday morning. Ironically, the pair that they are tied with, Australians Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley, are their first-round opponents this week at the Masters Series event in Madrid.
The match will be of double importance for both pairs, who are fighting to grab one of the eight spots for the year-end Masters Cup in November in Shanghai. After Madrid, there will be only two more events at which teams can make up points.
Arthurs and Hanley will arrive in Madrid in good form after winning the Stockholm Open on Sunday. Hanley teamed with Leander Paes of India to defeat Ram and Erlich at the recent Bangkok final.