Ram, Erlich win first title of 2006 season

Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich won their first title of the 2006 season on Sunday after defeating top seeds Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett 7-6, 7-6 in the Adelaide International doubles final in Australia. The second-seeded Israelis reached the final after turning back Belgium's Xavier Malisse, himself a former champ, and local favorite Mark Philippoussis 6-2, 6-2 on Friday. Ram and Erlich's run has secured them a least an eighth seed in the upcoming Australian Open, meaningful because they will not have to face another top eight duo until the quarterfinals at the earliest. The tournament is the first ever for Australian Hanley and Ullyett of Zimbabwe together, giving Ram and Erlich the experience advantage. They were both previously among the top doubles players in the world, with Hanley partnering Wayne Arthurs and Ullyett joining forces with countryman Wayne Black.