Tennis: Ram, Erlich reach final in Washington

Israeli duo defeats Martin Damm and Leander Paes 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 10-2 in $600,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

ram erlich 88 (photo credit: AP)
ram erlich 88
(photo credit: AP)
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich advanced to the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington on Saturday night, defeating Martin Damm and Leander Paes 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 10-2. The Israelis, who defeated Benjamin Becker and Igo Kunitsyn 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals on Friday, will face the winner of the semifinal between Bob and Mike Bryan and Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett. Ram and Erlich, who are seeded fourth in the $600,000 tournament, took an early lead in the semis (4-1), but Damm and Paes broke back in the ninth game and won the first set on a tiebreak. After splitting the first 12 games of the second set and the first six points of the tiebreak, the Israelis opened a slender lead by winning the next two points and went on to take the set and tie the match. Ram and Erlich, who are playing in their first tournament since losing in the second round of Wimbledon over a month ago, were unstoppable in the match tiebreaker, winning the first eight points and quickly booking their place in the title match on Sunday. Meanwhile, Shahar Pe'er and Sania Mirza's doubles winning streak was cut short late Thursday night in the second round of the Acura Classic in San Diego. The Jewish/Muslim duo, which had won its last five doubles matches, succumbed to Su-Wei Hsieh and Alla Kuryavtseva 3-6, 6-3, 12-10. After splitting the first two sets Pe'er and Mirza opened a 5-1 lead in the match tiebreaker and came within three points of advancing to the quarterfinals when they led 7-4. Hsieh and Kudryavtseva, however, won five of the next six points and reached a match point. The Israeli/Indian team managed to save two match points, but Hsieh and Kudryavtseva converted their third and booked their place in the last eight.