Tennis: Levy, Rajeev Ram advance to last eight

Levy one win away from duplicating Yoni Ram's and Erlich's 2003 achievement in doubles.

July 6, 2007 04:41
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Harel Levy and Rajeev Ram continued their excellent Wimbledon run on Thursday, defeating Benjamin Becker of Germany and Petr Pala of the Czech Republic to advance to the quarterfinals of the men's doubles tournament. The Israeli/American duo needed two hours and 20 minutes to overcome their third round opponents, winning the five set roller coaster 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. Next up for Levy and Ram are No. 10 seeds Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra. Levy is one win away from matching the achievement of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, who reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2003. The Israeli/American pair made just 14 unforced errors Thursday, hitting 13 more winners than their opponents (58 to 45). Levy and Ram got off to a flying start and recorded the first break of the match in the second game when Becker put his volley into the net. It proved to be the only break of the first set and the Levy/Ram duo held serve to clinch the set in 23 minutes. In the third game of the second set, Becker and Pala saved two break points and held serve to take a 2-1 lead. Levy and Ram would live to regret their missed opportunities, with the German-Czech duo breaking in the 12th game to take the second set. A Ram winner at the net gave his team an early break in the third set and the Israeli/American duo broke for a second time in the fifth game to open an unassailable 4-1 lead. The fourth set, however, would see Becker and Pala seize retake control of the proceedings. They recorded the only break of the set in the fourth game and held serve with ease to send the match into a decisive fifth set. Four unstoppable serves from Becker in the second game of the fifth set denied Levy and Ram a break, after they had opened a promising 40-15 lead. Ram's long volley in the subsequent game gave Becker and Pala a break, but the Israeli/American team broke back immediately to tie the score. Levy and Ram held serve in the fifth game after a 10 minute rain break and took a lead they wouldn't relinquish. They broke to love in the following game after Pala sent his volley long and wrapped up the victory by taking the next two games. Andy Ram and Nathalie Dechy's third round match in the mixed doubles against Marcin Matkowski and Cara Black will be played on Friday after rain suspended play on Thursday evening. Pe'er hits back at critics Shahar Pe'er returned to Israel on Thursday morning after losing in the third round of the Wimbledon women's doubles tournament 24 hours earlier. The 20-year-old, who was also knocked out of the singles event in the third round, said on her return that the criticism directed at her in recent days was not entirely fair. "I think some of the criticism was unwarranted," said Pe'er, who will lead Israel's Fed Cup team against Austria in the World Group playoff that will be played on July 14-15. "I know I won't always be the media's pet and that I'll occasionally be criticized, but people must understand that a million girls would like to be in my place. The competition is of a very high standard and I'm always improving and playing the best players in the biggest tournaments," she said.

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