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Erlich/Ram Win First Title Since 2008

ATP World Tour 2011 Season: Week 24

Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won their first title in three years as they defeated the first-time pairing of Grigor Dimitrov and Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3 in a rain-delayed AEGON International final. The match, originally scheduled for Friday in Eastbourne, was played Sunday afternoon at Roehampton.

“I didn't think we were going to be able to play the final, but it was great that we were able to play it in London today,” said Ram. “It has been a long time since Jonathan and I have won a title together, so we are really happy and excited and now looking forward to playing Wimbledon.”

The former Top 10 duo claimed its 13th tour-level title and first since the 2008 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Erlich and Ram, who knocked out two-time defending champions Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the first round, won this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament in 2005-06 when the tournament was held in Nottingham.

While they were contesting their 25th tour-level final together, it was their first since Erlich’s return from an elbow injury that sidelined him following the 2008 US Open. Erlich improved to a 15-13 mark in doubles finals, and Ram to a 17-17 record.

“It's always nice to win a title,” said the 34-year-old Erlich. “I haven't played a lot of tennis because of injury so to be able to come back and play with my old partner and good friend and win the title is a good feeling.”

Erlich and Ram, the 2008 Australian Open champions, open against Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon and could face top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the second round.
“It is the perfect preparation for Wimbledon and will give us a lot of confidence to do well there,” said Erlich.

Dimitrov fell in his first appearance in an ATP World Tour doubles final, while Seppi dropped to an 0-5 mark. Seppi had claimed his first ATP World Tour singles title Saturday in Eastbourne (d. Tipsarevic).

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