Ram falls at final hurdle

By Dan Goldberg, February 2, 2009

Andy Ram failed to win his fourth grand slam doubles title at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Playing in the mixed doubles final alongside France’s Nathalie Dechy, the Israeli was outfoxed and outclassed by the Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupati 6-3, 6-1 in 55 minutes at Rod Laver Arena just before the much-anticipated men’s singles final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The Indian pair, who defeated Ram and Dechy in last year’s semi-final in Australia, broke in the first set and twice in the second set.

“They played very well from the beginning,” Ram said. “I was hitting serves over 200 kmph and Mirza was returning. They were deserved winners.

“I’m disappointed a little bit,” he said. “I hate losing. I wanted to win. Losing a final is tough, tougher than losing a semi-final.”

But he said he was proud to have reached the final. “Coming from a small country like Israel which doesn’t have many sporting achievements, I’m very proud to make some good news.”

Ram shares with Dechy a runners-up cheque for $US43,000, taking his career prize money to $US1.75 million.

It is the second time Ram has lost a grand slam doubles final, following his defeat alongside Russia’s Anastasia Rodionova at Wimbledon in 2003.

But Ram won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Russia’s Vera Zvonareva in 2006, and in 2007, he and Dechy won the French Open mixed doubles title.

Last year at the Australian Open, Ram and his longstanding male partner, Yoni Erlich, won the Australian Open doubles championship – the first all-Israeli duo ever to win a grand slam.

Last updated: 4:15pm, February 2 2009