News & Press

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich's magical run at the Australian Open came to a perfect ending on Saturday morning in Melbourne.

The Israeli duo defeated Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the final of the men's doubles tournament and celebrated like only they know how. After the French duo sent the ball into the net on match point, Ram lifted his partner in the air before Erlich returned the favor by giving Ram a piggy-back ride round the Rod Laver Arena centre court.

"This is an unbelievable moment. It's a great, great moment for us," Ram said after the match. "I've won two Grand Slams in the mixed doubles, but that's not even close to what I'm feeling at the moment."

"I've been waiting for this moment since I was born," an emotional Erlich said after the two accepted the trophy. "It's an amazing experience. As a kid looking at the TV, watching the Grand Slams, I never believed I'd be here. It's an amazing tournament. It has an amazing atmosphere. It's an amazing title to win."


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Erlich & Ram Through to Semifinals; Bryans Fall

Sixth-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles handed two-time defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan their first defeat at the Australian Open for two years on Wednesday. Bhupathi and Knowles triumphed 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) on Rod Laver Arena in two hours and 24 minutes.

The World No. 1 Bryan brothers fought back from a 2-4 deficit in the third set and had one break point in the ninth game against the new pairing for the 2008 season. Bhupathi and Paes took their chances, winning 111 points to the Bryans’ 110 total points, for a place in the semifinals.

The Bryans captured the 2006 (d. Damm-Paes) and 2007 (d. Bjorkman-Mirnyi) Australian Open titles, following two runner-up finishes in 2004 (l. to Llodra-Santoro) and 2005 (l. to Black-Ullyett).

Bhupathi and Knowles will next meet eight-seeded Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram (pictured), who defeated Frenchmen Marc Gicquel and Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 6-1.

With their 69-minute victory over the new tandem, Erlich and Ram matched their team's best Grand Slam result - a semifinal finish in 2003 at Wimbledon. The Israelis are making their sixth appearance in Melbourne and had previously not advanced beyond the third round.

The 35-year-old Santoro, the winner of the 2003-04 Australian Open doubles title with compatriot Michael Llodra, was making his 16th and final appearance in Melbourne - his 12th in the doubles draw - after making his singles debut in 1991. He bowed out to World No. 1 Roger Federer last week in the second round of the singles main draw.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kleybanova qualified and upset #45 in the world in her first grand slam event

Kleybanova outlasts Peng

By Bren O'Brien

China's Shuai Peng has failed in her bid to get through to the second round of the Australian Open for the third time, overpowered in a three-hour epic by Russia's Alisa Kleybanova.

Kleybanova prevailed 7-5 5-6 9-7 in a match which had the crowd out on Court 21 on the edge of their seats for much of the epic contest. The Russian world No.154 now plays compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, who had a walkover in her earlier match.

The first set saw Kleybanova take the early initiative, establishing a break before handing it back with a double fault in the sixth game. But the Russian dug seep to get another break in the 12th game and take the opener.

It was Peng who began the better in the second, racing to a 2-0 lead before Kleybanova broke back to level it up. Games went with serve until the tenth game, when Peng set up a set point and capitalised, levelling the match.

An epic third set saw Kleybanova grab the early running, leading 2-0, but Peng kept herself in the contest with a break back. Neither player was able to land the killer blow until Kleybanova broke the world No.45 in the 15th game of the set. She saw off a break point and then created a match point of her own. She took that and booked a spot in the final 64 at her first Grand Slam event.