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Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich are still chasing their first title of 2007, after losing 7-6 (5), 3-6, 10-7 to Bob and Mike Bryan in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington on Sunday night.
The Israelis, who were seeded fourth in the $600,000 tournament, pushed the world's best doubles team all the way, but for a second time this year came up short against the American duo in an ATP tournament final. Ram and Erlich, who are winless in three title matches in 2007, lost to the Bryan brothers in their first final of the year in Las Vegas in March.
Sunday's title was the Bryans' third straight in Washington and takes their tally for the year to eight, a new career high.
Ram and Erlich won their first service game of the match to love and the first six games of the match went according to serve. The Israelis broke to love in the seventh game and a Ram ace in the following game gave the duo a 5-3 lead. In the 10th game of the match, Ram and Erlich reached two set points, but squandered both and allowed the Americans to tie the set (5-5).
The next two games went with serve and the set would have to be decided on a tiebreak. The teams split the first 10 points on the breaker, but the Bryans claimed the first mini-break in the 11th point and wrapped up the set by winning the subsequent point.
The Bryans almost took a stranglehold of the match by breaking in the first game of the second set, but the Israelis saved two break points and held serve. The momentum seemed to shift Ram and Erlich's way after the first game, with the duo breaking in the second game and holding comfortably in the following game to open a 3-0 lead.
The duo stayed ahead throughout the remainder of the set and despite failing to convert two set points in the eighth game, did finally manage to clinch the set in the following game.
Ram and Erlich never led in the decisive match tiebreaker, with the Bryans leading from the fifth point onwards. The Americans went on to open a 9-5 advantage and finally clinched the title with their third match point.