Davis Cup: Ram-Ehrlich lose 2-0 lead

Match with Russia's Safin-Kunitsynin poised at 2-2 as Israel bids for unassailable QF advantage.

sela levy celebrate 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
sela levy celebrate 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli tennis duo Andy Ram and Yoni Ehrlich let a 2-0 lead slip against Russia's Marat Safin and Igor Kunitsynin in the Davis Cup quarter-final tie at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena on Saturday afternoon, with the match going into a deciding fifth set. The Israeli doubles pair took the first set 6-3, won the second 6-4, but went down 7-6 in the third and 6-4 in the fourth. Should Ram and Ehrlich win the match, Israel would take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five tie and advance to the semifinals of the prestigious competition for the first time ever. Israel had got off to a dream start to the tie on Friday when Harel Levy and Dudi Sela defeated Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny respectively. In the first match, Harel Levy, 31, ranked 210th in the world, beat Igor Andreev, ranked 24th. He won 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. In the second match, Dudi Sela, ranked 33th in the world, beat Mikhai Youzhny 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5, securing the 2-0 lead for Israel. Andreev began aggressively and took the first set 6-3. Levy bounced back into the match helped by a roaring crowd so thrilled that Andreev complained to the referee, saying the crowd was hampering his concentration. In the second match, Sela started off rusty losing the first set 3-6, but completely dominated Youzhny in the second and third sets, easily defeating the Russian 6-1 and 6-0. In the fourth set, Sela was broken by Youzhny early on but managed to break back. Later in the set he broke the Russian again to secure the victory by winning the set 7-5.