Erlich, Melzer reach doubles final

Yoni Erlich will go for 15th career doubles title Sunday, teams up with Jurgen Melzer in the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.

Jurgen Melzer 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Jurgen Melzer 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Yoni Erlich will be going for his 15th career doubles title on Sunday, when he teams up with Jurgen Melzer to face Christopher Kas and Viktor Troicki in the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
Erlich and Melzer, who just two weeks ago faced off in Israel’s 3-2 defeat to Austria in the Davis Cup World Group playoffs, beat Dmitry Tursunov and Kittipong Wachiramanowong 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals on Friday and will be aiming to lift the Thailand Open title in their first tournament together as partners.
Erlich has won 12 of his 14 career titles with Andy Ram, with whom he is set to join forces once more at the China Open in Beijing next week, with his last triumph coming in June in the Queens grass tournament with Novak Djokovic.
Shahar Pe’er came within two points of winning her fourth career doubles title on Saturday, falling just short in the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo with China’s Shuai Peng.
After splitting the first two sets with Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Pe’er and Peng opened a 6-3 lead in the match tiebreaker and at 8-8 were just two points from the title.
However, Benesova and Zahlavova Strycova took the next two points to win 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 and deny the Israeli/Chinese duo a title in their first tournament as a team.
“It’s disappointing to lose in the final, especially 10-8 in the super tie-break after we came back and were playing better,” Pe’er said. “But we have to look on the bright side that we reached the final here in our first tournament together.”
Meanwhile, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki recovered from a slow start to beat Elena Dementieva 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the singles final in Tokyo on Saturday.
Wozniacki can overtake Serena Williams as No. 1 in the world rankings if she reaches the quarterfinals or better at the China Open next week.
In Bangkok, Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Thailand Open on Saturday, losing 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to 53rd-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in an all-Spanish semifinal.
“It’s a difficult loss to accept,” Nadal said. “It’s one of those matches you are going to lose once every two years.”
AP contributed to this report