Tennis: Ram and Erlich disappoint in Monte Carlo quarters

The Israelis never gave themselves a real chance of winning, converting just two of 12 break points.

andy ram 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
andy ram 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich suffered a disappointing defeat in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday, losing 6-4, 6-4 to No. 8 seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Kevin Ullyett. The Israelis, who were seeded second in the 2,270,000 euro tournament, never gave themselves a real chance of winning, converting just two of 12 break points. Meanwhile, Roger Federer beat Gael Monfils of France 6-3, 6-4. The 12-time Grand Slam champion overcame an early break against Monfils and looked to have recovered a day after rallying from 5-1 down in the third set to beat 137th-ranked Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. "My forehand worked well today," Federer said. "And I was just happy, after yesterday, (to be) playing so well. Today was fine again. It's good I reacted so well after yesterday's tough match." The top-ranked Swiss next plays sixth-seeded David Nalbandian, who routed No. 12 Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-0. Federer set up match point with a perfectly weighted drop shot that Monfils didn't even chase, and won on his second match point with a service winner that curled away from the Frenchman. Federer said he spent much of Wednesday night analyzing his play against Ramirez Hidalgo. "Just sort of the good things, the bad things, why could I turn around the match," he said. Monfils threatened early on, breaking Federer in the third game. Federer broke straight back for 2-2 and took Monfils' serve again in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead after Monfils sent a big forehand wide. "I started off well. I was aggressive," Monfils said. "And then, I don't know, I changed. I was watching him playing instead of staying aggressive or very dynamic." Federer clinched the opening set when Monfils hit a service return long. Federer broke his opponent in the third game of the second set and was leading 4-2 when Monfils saved three break points. Also Thursday, three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 6-1; third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia topped No. 14 Andy Murray 6-0, 6-4; No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia rallied to beat No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 7-5, 6-2; and Sam Querrey of the United States upset No. 7 Richard Gasquet 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. "I think it was a good match," Nadal said. "It is never easy to play against Juan Carlos. He's a big player, especially here on clay. It is a very good start for me and that gives me confidence." Nadal next plays fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, who beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-4, 6-0 to reach the last eight for the fourth straight year. Nadal broke two-time champion Ferrero in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Ferrero pinned Nadal on the baseline in the seventh game and broke back, before holding for 4-4. Ferrero saved three set points in the 10th game - the first with a forehand winner and the next two when Nadal went long with attempted baseline winners. Ferrero conceded the opener after a tense rally where Nadal was wrongfooted by a volley but managed to lob the ball back. Ferrero flicked the ball between his legs to continue the long exchange, which ended several strokes later when Nadal's booming forehand landed just in. Nadal dominated the second set, opening up a 4-0 lead before Ferrero broke in the fifth game. Nadal broke straight back to lead 5-1 and clinched the match on serve with a crosscourt winner. Murray said he was disappointed with his level of play. "Not good enough against a player like Djokovic," Murray said. "Normally, obviously my ground strokes are very consistent. And I probably hit about three or four winners and about 25, 30 unforced errors." Djokovic next faces Querrey - the first American to reach the Monte Carlo quarterfinals since Vince Spadea in 2003 - and Davydenko plays Igor Andreev of Russia.