Tennis: Andy Ram wins 2nd career Grand Slam

Israeli tennis star wins French Open mixed doubles tournament with Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy.

ram dechy 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
ram dechy 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Andy Ram claimed his second career Grand Slam title on Thursday, winning the French Open mixed doubles tournament with Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy. The Israeli/French duo, which was seeded eighth at Roland Garros, defeated number five seeds Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic 7-5, 6-3 on the Philippe Chatrier Court. "I would like to thank Nathalie, she's the greatest partner I could have in France," Ram said after the match. "This is the first time we've played together and I thank her for playing with me." Just 11 months ago Ram became the first Israeli to lift a Grand Slam title trophy, winning the 2006 Wimbledon mixed doubles tournament with Russian Vera Zvonareva. The 27-year-old was also a finalist at the All England Club in 2003, losing in the title game with partner Anastasia Rodionova. "I'm honored and lucky to bring Israel a second Grand Slam title and I hope I can continue doing so with [mens doubles partner] Yoni Erlich," Ram said. "Dechy asked me before the tournament if I would like to play with her in Wimbledon and I answered that we should first see how things go in the French Open. The decision to play with Nathlie was obviously a very good one." Dechy was clearly happy with the partnership. "It was great to play with Ram. It's very rare that a double's team wins in their first tournament together," she said. "We played an excellent match and we will play in Wimbledon together. The most important thing is that we enjoy playing together and when that happens you win titles." Even though Ram and Dechy won the same amount of points as Srebotnik and Zimonjic on Thursday (61 each), the Israeli/French team dictated the play throughout the match, breaking their opponents serve six times. As well as winning a small silver cup they will also split a 70,000 euro prize. After splitting the first two games of the match, Ram and Dechy broke serve and opened a one game lead. The Israeli/French duo struggled on serve in the subsequent game, allowing Srebotnik and Zimonjic to tie the score. The Slovenian/Serbian duo held their serve to love in the fifth game and opened a 4-2 lead with a break in the following game. Ram and Dechy, who won almost 70 percent (25 of 36) of their points when they got their first serves in, broke back immediately and tied the score (4-4) with another successful service game. An excellent Dechy back-hand helped the Israeli/French duo claim their second break of serve in the 11th game and the team clinched the set in the following game after Zimonjic sent the ball long. Ram and Dechy got the first break of the second set in the third game and opened a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Ram was in ruthless form in the second set and his excellent serving in the sixth game gave his team a two game cushion (4-2). The Israeli/French duo broke for a fifth time in the next game and despite not managing to close out the match on their serve in the eighth game, broke once more and won the match after Zimonjic put his volley in the net.