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Articles > Israeli Tennis Players Take Center Court in California

March 21, 2009. Indian Wells, CA -

Israel was represented at the championship finals in both menís and womenís doubles play at the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open, which was winding up as March Madness was just getting underway elsewhere around the country.

First, Shahar Peer (currently ranked no. 42 in singles play in the world) and her partner, Gisela Dulko of Argentina, took on Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the womenís doubles final. The 22-year-old Israeli and her partner took the first set 6-4, but after losing the second set 3-6, they ran out of steam to lose the super tie-break 10-5, finishing as tournament runners-up.

Then it was the menís turn. Andy Ram came to Indian Wells, in Palm Springs, fresh off the celebrations following an exhilarating win for the Israeli Davis Cup team in Sweden, and a very long flight from Sweden to California. Swedish player Robert Lindstedt, who with Simon Aspelin took the doubles event from Israel in Malmo (6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-4) may have been on the same flight, but perhaps Andy slept better, as he and doubles partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus beat Lindstedt and his partner in first round play.

Ram and Mirnyi advanced through two more rounds to face twin threats Mike and Bob Bryan, the no. 1 ranked doubles team in the world (and top seed in the draw), in semi-final play. Ram and Mirnyi won the match 6-4, 7-6 (4).

That set the stage for the finals meeting with Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish. Earlier in the day, Roddick played Rafael Nadal in the menís singles semi-finals, which meant he came to this match on worn legs. (Roddick fell to Nadal 6-4, 7-6 (4).)

Ram and Mirnyi took the first set 6-3. But the Americans came back, winning the second set 6-1, saving 5 break points in the process. Ram and Mirnyi were only able to convert on 1-of-6 break points, and double-faulted 7 times. The tie break remained on serve until Roddick and Fish broke serve one more time at 12-12, setting them up for the 14-12 tie break win.

Peíer and her partner split $118,500 in purse winning, while Ram and Mirnyi split $117,000. Ram and Peíer will both make the trek from the west coast to the east coast to play in the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, which runs from March 26-April 6.

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