Ram, Erlich start strong in Rome

Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich stopped a threematch losing streak.

ram , erlich 88 (photo credit: )
ram , erlich 88
(photo credit: )
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich stopped a threematch losing streak Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Internazionali D'Italia in Rome. The sixth-seeded Israeli pair, which last won a match in late March in Miami, defeated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland and Belgium's Olivier Rochus 6-4, 6-3. The victory was their first on clay this season. In the quarters they'll meet the winner of the match that pits the fourth-seeded duo of Australian Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe against American James Blake and Belgium's Xavier Malisse. That match took place Thursday night after press time. Anna Smashnova was eliminated from the German Open in Berlin after a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Swiss star Patty Schnyder in the third round. Smashnova, ranked 49th in the world coming into the event, was unable to threaten Schnyder (9), despite the fact that she had won three of their last four meetings before Thursday. Shahar Pe'er continued to roll at the Prague Open, teaming with France's Marion Bartoli to top locals Lucie Hradecka and Vladimira Uhlirova 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles quarterfinals. Pe'er (35), seeded third in the singles event, will meet the eighth seed, Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko (68), in the quarterfinals on Friday.