2012 Tennis gold medal
London, England© Getty ImagesAndy Ram and Jonathan Erlich ousted the reigning Olympic gold medallists.
Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram played spoiler in Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka’s hopes of retaining the doubles gold medal, as they recovered from a shaky start Wednesday at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event to defeat the sixth-seeded Swiss duo 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the second round.
“We’re very pleased; it’s not every day that you beat the No. 1 in the world, the best player in the history of tennis, ” said Ram. “It’s great fun. I’m very excited about this, it’s not a normal win, but still we have a long way for our goal. We came here to go all the way, not just to beat Federer, which is very exciting.”
The Israelis lost serve three times in the 28-minute opening set, winning just 46 per cent of their service points.
“To be with the best player in the world on Centre Court is a bit exciting in the beginning, ” said Ram, explaining their slow start. They didn’t play better, we just played bad in the first set. Then in the second set we talked a little bit in the changeover, we switched sides on serve, and we played much better and we improved with the game.”
They did not give Federer and Wawrinka another break point chance in the two sets to follow. They edged the Swiss in the tie-break, and needed just one break of serve in the third to claim victory after one hour and 39 minutes.
Erlich stated afterwards that he was most impressed with the patience and maturity they showed, after what he called a “shocking” first set.
“It was actually shocking, we didn’t put more than two balls in the court, but we stayed with a lot of confidence, ” he said. “We talked a lot during the matches just to stay patient, we’re going to get into that, we can’t be worse than that and we have enough experience, enough titles. We play very good players, and with a lot of patience, we’re going to get into the match. We won the tie-break and then we played a high level of tennis.”
Erlich and Ram, the 2008 Australian Open champions, will next face top-seeded Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the reigning bronze medallists.
Federer and Wawrinka had defeated the Bryans in the semi-finals at the 2008 Beijing Games, before going on to defeat Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the gold medal match.
“Overall, I think we played a good tournament, ” said Federer, who had secured his place in the singles quarter-finals earlier Wednesday. “It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Wawrinka, who will next compete at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, admitted, “I think we play good doubles, but doubles can be really tough. One or two points can change the match, especially on grass courts.”
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