Ram-Erlich dumped out of French Open

Ram and Erlich have now failed to reach the quarterfinals of their last six Grand Slams.

ram erlich 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
ram erlich 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli interests at the French Open suffered a major blow Monday when Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich were knocked out in the third round of the doubles, and Shahar Pe'er and her partner Dinara Safina suffered a similar fate in the women's event. Ram and Erlich, who were seeded seventh at Roland Garros, lost 7-6 (4), 6-4 to Mahesh Bhupathi and Radek Stepanek, with the score line not doing justice to the Indian/Czech duo. The Israelis struggled with their opponents serve throughout the match, only winning nine of 49 points when Bhupathi and Stepnek got their first serve in. This was the second straight Grand Slam tournament where Ram and Erlich have been ousted by Bhupathi and Stepnek, with the Indian/Czech pair also knocking the Israelis out at the third round of this year's Australian Open. Ram and Erlich have now failed to reach the quarterfinals of their last six Grand Slams. Bhupathi and Stepnek jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, but by winning the next three games, the Israelis had their first lead of the match. Love service games by both sets of players tied the score (4-4), with the set going to a tiebreak. After splitting the first six points, Bhupathi and Stepnek won four of the next five points and won the set, seizing control of the match. Ram and Erlich saved numerous break points during the second set and both doubles pairs held service in the set's first nine games. In the 10th game, the Indian/Czech duo finally claimed the elusive break, clinching the match by converting just their second break point of the 12 played. Pe'er and Safina were crushed 6-1, 6-2 by Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama,with the third round match lasting just 61 minutes. The Israeli/Russian team was unable to put up a fight against their superior opponents and was thoroughly outplayed for both sets. Pe'er and Safina only held serve once during the match, with Srebotnik and Sugiyama converting an amazing 100 percent of their break points (6 of 6). The Slovenian/Japanese duo raced into a 4-0 lead at the start of the match, with the Israeli/Russian team only finally getting on the board by breaking their opponents in the fifth game. Four more consecutive games by Srebotnik and Sugiyama gave them a huge lead, wrapping up the match and putting Pe'er and Safina out of their misery. Also on Monday, 17-year-old Julia Glushko, who is seeded 15th in the girls tournament, lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to Micaela Larcher De Brito of Portugal in the second round. On Tuesday, Ram and Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy, who are seeded eighth in the mixed doubles tournament, face number two seeds Liezel Huber and Kevin Ullyett in the quarterfinals.