Ram and Erlich bow out after second straight loss

But positives outweigh the negatives as the pair became the first Israelis to take part in the prestigious event.

Ram erlich 298 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ram erlich 298 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich missed out on a semifinal spot in the Masters Cup on Thursday morning after losing 6-4, 7-6(6), to Czech Martin Damm and Indian Leander Paes in their third and final match of the round-robin stage in Shanghai. A win against Damm and Paes would have guaranteed the Israelis a semifinal berth, but the duo squandered three set points in the second-set tiebreak and finished last in the four-team group. However, despite Thursday's disappointment, the positives for Ram and Erlich far outweigh the negatives. The pair became the first Israelis ever to take part in the prestigious, season-ending event that only features the world's top eight teams and got one of the biggest wins in their career when they defeated the world's best doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan in the first match of the competition. The pair won four titles this season in Adelaide, Bangkok, New Haven and Nottingham, and will finish the year ranked seventh in the ATP Doubles Race. After splitting the first six games of the match on Thursday, Ram and Erlich lost their serve in the seventh game of the first set and threw away a break-point opportunity in the following game, allowing the Czech/Indian duo to take a 5-3 lead. The next two games went according to serve and Damm and Paes took the first set. Ram and Erlich began the second set well and got their first break of the match in the fourth game of the second set (3-1). However, the Israelis were broken back immediately and allowed the Czech/Indian team to tie the score at 3-3. Both teams held on to their serves in the next six games and the set went into a tiebreaker. Ram and Erlich won four of the first five points in the breaker and after taking a 6-3 lead, the match seemed destined for a third and decisive set. However, Damm and Paes saved three set points and reeled off five straight points to win the tiebreak 8-6 and complete a straight-set victory. The win gave Damm and Paes the second semifinal spot after the surprising loss by the Bryans 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 to Paul Hanely and Kevin Ullyett, who finished at the top of the group with a 3-0 record.