Jonathan Erlich’s doubles campaign is over after he was knocked out in a thrilling encounter on Thursday evening.
Finally getting his tournament underway after the previous two days play had been interrupted by rain – which lead to organisers making the matches best of three sets, instead of five, Erlich was teaming up with GB’s Colin Fleming, as they took on the tournament’s third seeds, GB’s Jamie Murray – the world number one doubles player – and Brazilian Bruno Soares.
It was the Israeli who was broken in the first game of the match, to see them get off to the worst possible start. Always therefore playing catch-up, Fleming was then broken in his second service game, as they went on to lose the opening set 6-2, with just 28 minutes on the clock.
There was a sense of deja vu in the second set when in the fifth game, with both sides having held serve, Erlich was broken again to give Murray and Soares a 3-2 significant advantage. However, showing a great response on the Murray serve, they broke straight back to tie the set up at 3-3.
Both sides held serve for the remainder of the set, meaning the match went to a second set tie-break. Erlich, serving first, was broken by a great return from Murray to give them the mini-break, though a sharp return at the net from Erlich saw them break straight back. Both teams then held serve until a blistering return from Fleming gave them two set points, though they were unable to take either them as the score went back to 6-6.
They spurned a third set point, before Erlich’s ace kept them in the match, and then earned them a fourth set point, which they once again failed to take as the tie-break moved up to 9-9.
Another superb return from Erlich saw them earn another mini-break to give them a fifth set point which they took, Erlich finishing off at the net to tie the match up at 1-1, with a 11-9 tie-break win.
The third set went with serve in the first seven games, until Erlich was once more broken, meaning Soares had the chance to serve for the match, which he did as they took the set 6-3, three sets which lasted just two minutes short of two hours.
American Scott Lipsky is though through to the second round after he and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis and American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2.
Still awaiting to star their doubles campaigns are Dudi Sela, who alongside Frenchman Stephane Robert, are due to meet Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Russian Mikhail Youzhny, while Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who like Sela, was knocked out in the singles tournament earlier in the week, will be partnering compatriot Federico Delbonis, taking on GB duo Kyle Edmund and James Ward.
Lipsky is also involved in the mixed doubles competition, where alongside Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, they take on Argentine Guillermo Duran and China’s Chen Liang.
Israeli Yshai Oliel also saw his junior boys campaign end in the qualifying stages on Thursday. The French Open doubles winner was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by Italian Enrico Dalla Valle.