Tennis: Ram, Erlich edged out in Cincinnati final

Israeli pairing in good form ahead of Olympic tennis tournament in Beijing.

Ram Erlich champs 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ram Erlich champs 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich came up just short in their attempt to claim the Cincinnati Masters for a second straight year on Sunday, losing 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-10 to the world's top doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Despite the defeat the Israeli duo will have gained a great amount of confidence from its long run in Cincinnati and will be hoping for a rematch against the Bryan brothers in two weeks time in the Olympic doubles final in Beijing. The Bryans, who lost to the Israelis in the Cincinnati final last year, are expected to be the No. 1 seeds in China, with Ram and Erlich to be seeded second. "In the clutch they played a bit better than us and deserved to win," Erlich confessed after the match. Ram and Erlich, who broke the 16-match winning streak of No. 2 seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic with a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 semifinal win on Saturday night, had struggled in recent months up until this week's tournament, failing to progress past the quarterfinals stage at any tournament since winning the Indian Wells Masters in March. "We had some tough months, but the last few weeks have been good and hopefully we're peaking just in time for the Olympics and US Open," Erlich said. The Olympic tennis tournament begins next Sunday on August 10. A break in the fifth game of the match was enough for the Israelis to claim the first set and the duo seemed to be on its way to another famous victory after breaking in the first game of the second set and then opening a 2-0 lead. Ram and Erlich dropped their serve for the only time in the match in the fourth game, allowing the Americans to tie the score at 2-2, and the set eventually had to be decided on a tiebreak. Bob and Mike raced to a 5-1 lead in the breaker and quickly tied the match, winning the tiebreak 7-2. The decisive match tiebreak, where the first team to reach 10 points wins, was dominated from the start by the Bryans and after one hour and 22 minutes they wrapped up the victory 10-7. The 30-year-old Bryan twins won their fourth title of 2008 on Sunday, notching up their 50th victory of the year.