Favorites Ram, Erlich on verge of elimination when rain stops play

Pe'er advances to second round with victory over Sorana Cirstea.

ram erlich 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
ram erlich 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The rain saved Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich on Monday, but likely only for a day. The Israelis are trailing 4-6, 4-5 to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the first round of the Olympic doubles tournament and the Frenchmen will be serving for the match when play resumes on Tuesday. Seeded third in the event, Ram and Erlich were one of the Olympic Committee of Israel's favorites for a medal in China, but unless they can come back from the brink of elimination their tournament will end in a bitterly disappointing first round exit. Shahar Pe'er advanced to the second round of the women's tournament on Monday, beating Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 5-7, 6-0. Next up for the Israeli is No. 9 seed Vera Zvonareva. Tzipi Obziler, who took the place of the injured No. 1 seed Ana Ivanovic in the singles tournament, faced Mariya Koryttseva in her first round on Monday, but the rain forced the postponement of the match with the Ukrainian leading 5-3 in the first set. Llodra and Clement, ranked 20th and 22nd in the world respectively in doubles, drew first blood with a break in the seventh game of the match against Ram and Erlich and quickly wrapped up the first set. The second set went to serve in the first eight games, but the Frenchmen took a crucial lead with a break in the ninth game, and they were getting ready to serve for the match when the downpour began after midnight and kept the Israelis in the tournament, at least until Tuesday. A break in the ninth game of Pe'er's match gave her the first set against Cirstea. The Romanian, however, reeled off the next five games to take a commanding lead in the second set. After tying the score at 5-5 with a trademark comeback, Pe'er was broken once more in the 11th game and Cirstea held serve to tie the match. The third set was a one-sided affair and the Israeli quickly booked a tough second round meeting with Zvonareva on Tuesday. "I didn't enter this event with a lot of confidence, but I think I played quite well and as long as I attacked I was alright," said Pe'er. "The Olympic Games give me so much energy and I just hope it continues on Tuesday as well."