Tennis: Erlich takes title without regular partner Ram

Erlich and Levy defeated Rajeev Ram and Prakash Amritraj 6-3, 6-3.

yoni erlich 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
yoni erlich 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Yoni Erlich's comeback from a nine month injury layoff continued to gather steam on Saturday after he claimed the doubles title at the Izmir Challenger tournament with interim partner Harel Levy. Erlich and Levy defeated Rajeev Ram and Prakash Amritraj 6-3, 6-3, giving Erlich his first doubles title without Andy Ram, who decided to continue his successful partnership with Max Mirnyi in the coming months rather than help his longtime partner back to full fitness. Meanwhile, the WTA Tour Board rejected an appeal by organizers of the Dubai Tennis Championships of a record $ 300,000 fine and other penalties stemming from the United Arab Emirates' decision to deny a visa to Israeli player Shahar Pe'er. The UAE Peer's visa turned down request a day before she was to arrive for the $2 million tournament in February. On February 20, the tour levied the fine - more than twice as much as the previous highest imposed by the WTA - and put in place conditions for the tournament to stay on the schedule for 2010. They included confirming that qualifying Israeli players will get visas at least eight weeks in advance. Top-ranked Dinara Safina agreed it was unfortunate that Peer wasn't allowed to compete. " About the punishment, I'm not the one to judge what's right or wrong," the Russian said from the Madrid Open on Friday. "I just say that it's a shame that Shahar could not compete in the tournament because she has nothing to do with the politics - she's a tennis player." The organizers' appeal was heard by the tour board at its meetings this week during the Madrid Open. AP contributed to this report.