Israeli Tennis Pair Upsets Federer and Wawrinka
Ram and Erlich take down defending Olympic champs
In a stunning upset, Israeli tennis pair Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich have defeated the heavily favoured Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, to advance to the quarterfinals of the men’s Olympic doubles tournament.
Federer and Warwinka were the defending Olympic champions after winning gold four years ago in Beijing.
They entered the tournament ranked sixth, while Federer is currently the top ranked player in world by the ATP. Ram and Erlich are ranked no. 44 and 43, respectively.
Nevertheless, the Israeli underdogs defeated the Swiss pair in three sets by a score of 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Wednesday evening in London.
Early in the match, it seemed as though Federer and Wawrinka would make easy work of their opponents, as they appeared to have full control over Ram and Erlich in the first set.
But the Israelis stormed back, winning the tie-breaker in very close second set that saw the two sides tied at 6-6. In the third set, they grabbed an early lead and never looked back, building going up by as many as three points over the Swiss team on two separate occasions.
“It’s not that we play him (Federer) every day,” said Ram in a post-match interview with the Associated Press.
Federer, who is still in contention in the men's singles tournament, told AFP that the Israelis began to improve in the second set due in large part to clearer conditions.
“Conditions were tough. They were breezy, a lot of shadow on the courts. But that didn't disrupt our play. Honestly, I thought they struggled a lot with that (the shadows),” said Federer of his opponents.
“I thought they had virtually no chance on our service games and on the returns we were making all the play. They definitely played better once the shadows went, all the flags, all the spectator shadows were gone. It was more clean tennis. Overall I thought we played a good tournament. It just wasn't meant to be today.”
The Israeli pair, known locally as AndYoni, had kicked off the 2012 Summer Games with a 7-6, 7-6 victory over Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez earlier this week.
They will now advance to face the top-seeded American pair of Mike and Bob Bryan. Commonly known as the Bryan brothers, the American pair defeated Russia's Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny to advance to the quarterfinals.
Read more about Ram and Erlich in part two of last week's Jewish and Israeli Olympians feature.