Ram/Erlich can’t get out of French first round

Women’s No. 2 seed Clijsters ousted; Nadal, Murray pull through with straight-set triumphs.

Nadal 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nadal 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PARIS – Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich crashed out of the Roland Garros doubles competition in the first round on Thursday, on a day in which Kim Clijsters, one of the favorites in the women’s event, also suffered a stunning exit.
The Israeli duo’s frustrating season continued with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 defeat to Fabio Fognini and Filippo Volandri, with Ram and Erlich never really finding their rhythm in a blustery and overcast day in Paris.
“To lose in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament is bitterly disappointing,” Erlich told The Jerusalem Post.
“We lost to a more determined team.
The windy conditions meant that we couldn’t really display good tennis, but we still should have found a way to claim a win. We had our chances but didn’t take them. We were under more pressure than them and this is a tough defeat to take.”
Israeli interest in Paris ended later Thursday when Ram and Meghann Shaughnessy lost 7-6 (1), 6-4 to Jamie Murray and Nadia Petrova in the first round of the mixed doubles.
Clijsters, French Open runner-up in 2001 and 2003, suffered more agony on the clay with a sudden secondround 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 defeat to Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus.
The second seed, a doubt before the tournament after injuring her ankle at a cousin’s wedding, looked to have shrugged off the ill effects when she led 5-2 in the second set and held two match points.
However, an unexpected turn of events saw her lose 11 of the next 12 games and fall in shocking fashion to the world No. 114.
“I was too negative in my head,” said Clijsters, who had no excuse for her performance.
“If I wasn’t feeling like I was able to play tough matches, then I wouldn’t have made that decision to come here.”
Maria Sharapova (7) survived a scare to claim a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over France’s Caroline Garcia after trailing at one stage by a set and two breaks.
Also advancing Thursday were Na Li (6), Petra Kvitova (9) and Agnieszka Radwanska (12).
After coming back to defeat John Isner in five sets in the first round, world No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal had to toil for three hours and 18 minutes on Thursday before claiming a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over countryman Pablo Andujar (48).
Andy Murray labored to a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-5 victory over Simone Bolelli while Robin Soderling showed he too was a force with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Albert Ramos.