Ram and Erlich through to finals in India

Ram and Erlich have got this year off to an excellent start, reaching the final in their first tournament of 2012.

January 8, 2012 05:37
2 minute read.
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich

Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich R 311. (photo credit: REUTERS )


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Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will be going for their 15th career title together on Sunday when they play in the final of the Chennai Open in India.

It took the Israeli duo more than six months to reach their first final of a largely disappointing 2011, but Ram and Erlich have got this year off to an excellent start, reaching the final in their first tournament of 2012 on Saturday with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 victory over local favorites Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.

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Ram and Erlich dropped to 51st and 50th, respectively, in the ATP rankings following an underachieving 2011 in which they failed to make it past a second round of a Grand Slam tournament.

There was even some concern the duo would fail to reach the doubles tournament at the London 2012 Olympics, with only 24 teams to automatically qualify as per the rankings on June 11, 2012, subject to a maximum of two teams per nation.

However, the two look to be in great form to start this year and will be hoping to end their first tournament of 2012 with the title when they face Leander Paes and Janko Tipsarevic in Sunday’s final.

Dudi Sela’s first ATP Tour quarterfinal in more than a year-and-a-half ended in defeat in Chennai on Friday, with the Israeli (83 in the world) falling to a 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to Milos Raonic (31).

Meanwhile, France’s world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5 6- 3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday.

Tsonga had eased into the final with a walkover in the semis against Roger Federer, who pulled out with a back problem but was optimistic of being fit for the Australian Open which starts on January 16. Monfils had seen off world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semis.

Nevertheless, Nadal remains confident ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.

“I go to Australia very happy about what I did here,” Nadal told a news conference. “I think I played a great tournament. I played more aggressively than usual, including today, even if I know that’s maybe not the right thing to do.

“I needed to be a little bit more consistent today but I am doing the things I have to do to compete against the best players in the world.”

Federer was disappointed he had to pull out, but believes he’ll be fit to play in Melbourne. I hurt my back in the second round match,” Federer, who won the last of his 16 grand slam titles in Australia two years ago, told a news conference.

“I don’t think it’s the right time to risk anything right now. For Australia, I’m optimistic. It’s not good, but it isn’t crazy bad. Without playing and the right treatment I will get through it in the next few days. I have a long journey to Australia, but hopefully mid next week I should be 100 percent again,” added the world No. 3.

Reuters contributed to this report

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