Erlich, Melzer falter in final

Israeli-Austrian partnership fails to secure doubles title at Thailand Open in Bangkok; Shahar Pe'er to face Shengnan Sun in China Open.

Yoni Erlich’s partnership with Jurgen Melzer ended on a disappointing note on Sunday, with the Israeli/Austrian duo losing 6-4, 6-4 to Christopher Kas and Viktor Troicki in the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
Erlich and Melzer, who faced off in Israel’s 3-2 defeat to Austria in the Davis Cup World Group playoffs two weeks ago, were aiming to lift the Thailand Open title in their first ever tournament together, but fell to an early 4-0 deficit and never recovered.
Erlich, who was looking for his 15th career title, will join forces with Andy Ram once more at the China Open in Beijing this week, with the duo to play Lukas Dlouhy and Phillip Kohlschreiber in the first round.
In other action, Shahar Pe’er faces Chinese wild-card Shengnan Sun in the first round in Beijing on Monday.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova moved into the second round at the China Open on Sunday, but the focus in Beijing is on Caroline Wozniacki’s bid to become the top-ranked player in the world.
Sharapova, the 15th seed, labored to beat 32nd-seeded Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Wozniacki’s bid to overtake Serena Williams as the topranked player received a potential boost when defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and fourth-seeded Sam Stosur both lost on Sunday.
Wozniacki arrived in Beijing fresh from winning the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, and if she follows that by reaching the quarterfinals in Beijing, the Dane will take over the No. 1 ranking from Williams.
Her path in the $4.5 million tournament was eased by the withdrawal of Williams, her sister Venus and US Open champion Kim Clijsters because of injury.
Kuznetsova was beaten 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 by Italian Roberta Vinci, while Stosur lost 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.
Fifth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia advanced with 7-5, 7-5 win over Czech Klara Zakopalova, as did local favorite Li Na with an easy 6-2, 6-0 win over Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia.
The main draw of the men’s side of the China Open starts Monday, with No. 2-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia defending his title. Andy Murray of Britain, Sweden’s Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko of Russia are also competing.