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Jonathan Dario "Yoni" Erlich (Hebrew: יונתן דאריו "יוני" ארליך, born in Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker, April 5, 1977) is a professional Israeli tennis player. Erlich has reached 24 doubles finals and won 13 of them, mostly with partner Andy Ram.

He attained his highest doubles ranking through July 2009, # 5, in July 2008.

Background

Erlich, who is Jewish, was born in Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker. He moved to Haifamarker, Israelmarker, when he was one-year-old, and now resides in Tel Avivmarker and competes as an Israeli.

Erlich first started playing tennis when he was three years old, and he played his first tournament at the age of seven. He was later trained at the Wingate Institute, where he met Andy Ram, his future doubles partner. He turned pro in 1996 at the age of 19.

Erlich is known as a fan of the football team Maccabi Haifa .

Tennis career

1996–2005

Erlich and Ram first competed at Queen's Clubmarker in June 2001. In 2002, in singles Erlich defeated world # 64 ranked Adrian Voinea of Romania, 6–2, 6–3, in Indianapolis.

The Israeli duo's best achievement was reaching the semifinal of the Wimbledon championshipsmarker in 2003. They defeated No. 2 seeded Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in straight sets, 7–6 (10-8), 7–6 (7–2), 7–6 (9–7), before losing in the semifinals to defending Wimbledon champions Jonas Björkman and Todd Woodbridge. They were the first Israelis to ever advance to the semifinals in any Grand Slam event.

They won their first doubles title at the Thailand Open in September 2003. In October they won their second doubles title in three weeks by capturing the Grand Prix de Lyonmarker, defeating the French team of Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut 6–1, 6–3 in the final.

Erlich and partner Liezel Huber of South Africa advanced to the semifinals in the mixed doubles tournament in 2004 at the Australian Openmarker by beating the top-seeded team of Mark Knowles and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6–7 (6–8), 6–3, 7–6 (7–5) in the quarterfinals. They finally fell to the 4th-seeded pair Leander Paes and Martina Navratilova in the semifinals.

Ram and Erlich won the Lyon tournament for the second year running in October 2004. They met the premier duo Jonas Björkman and Radek Štěpánek in the final, and beat them 7–6 (2), 6–2. Erlich and Ram won their fourth major tournament in Rotterdammarker in February 2005. They beat Czechs Cyril Suk and Pavel Vízner 6–4, 4–6, 6–3 in the finals. Ram and Erlich missed the 2005 Roland Garros grand slam tournament. Ram's father had passed away as he was preparing to fly to France. They reached 8th place in the doubles ranking at the end of 2005, and served as alternates at the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

Ram/Erlich at the 2008 Gerry Weber Open

2006–present

Erlich and Ram claimed the Adelaidemarker title in the first week of the 2006 season. Erlich and Ram in March 2006 defeated the Russian finalists Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn 6–3, 6–2, to retain their Red Letter Days Open doubles title. Erlich and Ram became the first to successfully defend the doubles title in Nottinghammarker.

At Cincinnati, at the ATP Masters, in August he and Ram won, upsetting the world # 1 Bryan brothers in the final 4–6, 6–3, 13-11. In November, they again defeated the world # 1 ranked Bryan brothers at the Tennis Masters Cup in China, 7–6 (2), 2–6, 6–1. At the US Open, he played doubles with Ram, losing in the round of 16 to the eventual winners Simon Aspelin and Julian Simon, 5–7, 6–7 (4). The team won their first Grand Slam by winning the 2008 Australian Open final against Arnaud Clément and Michaël Llodra, 7–5, 7–6 (4).

From September 2008 till May 2009 Erlich was recovering from right elbow surgery, and suffered setback after setback,[203097] while Ram was playing doubles with other partners. The Israel Open ATP Challenger tournament in May 2009 was the first where the two reunited. Erlich and Ram proceeded to the tournament's final, where they lost to George Bastl and Chris Guccione 6-3, 7-63. After the tournament Ram announced that he was going to finish the season with his temporary partner Max Mirnyi, before returning to play with Erlich on a permanent basis. Later the same month, Erlich partnering Harel Levy won his first ATP tournament after returning to play, the Türk Telecom İzmir Cup (an ATP Challenger Tour event).

Davis Cup

Playing for the Israel Davis Cup team in 2000 and from 2002-09, he has won 12 of his 16 matches, including wins in Israel's 2006 3–2 win over Great Britain, 2007 5–0 win over Luxembourgmarker, 2007 3–2 wins over Italy and Chilemarker (in which he and Ram defeated Olympic Gold Medal winners González and Massú), and 2009 win over Russia.

Israel (ranked 8th in the Davis Cup standings, with 5,394 points) hosted heavily favored Russia (which won in both 2002 and 2006, and was the top-ranked country in Davis Cup standings, with 27,897 points) in a Davis Cup quarterfinal tie in July 2009, on indoor hard courts at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Israel was represented by Erlich, Ram, Dudi Sela, and Harel Levy. Russia's lineup consisted of Marat Safin (# 24 in the world; former world # 1), Igor Andreev (26), Igor Kunitsyn (35), and Mikhail Youzhny (44; former world # 8). The stage was set by Safin, who prior to the tie told the press: "With all due respect, Israel was lucky to get to the quarterfinals." The Israeli team's response was to beat the Russian team in each of their first three matches, thereby winning the tie. Levy, world # 210, beat Russia's top player, Andreev, world # 24, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the opening match. Sela (# 33) followed by beating Russian Youzhny 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5. Israeli captain Eyal Ran likened his players to two fighter jets on court, saying: "I felt as if I had two F-16s out there today, they played amazingly well." The 10,500 spectators were the largest crowd ever for a tennis match in Israel. The next day Erlich and Ram beat Safin and Kunitsyn 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-4 in front of a boisterous crowd of over 10,000. "This is something I will cherish for all of my life," said Erlich. He added, "Everybody has dreams, but there are some you don’t allow yourself to have, and beating Russia 3-0 was just like that .. but we have done it." Even the Saudi Gazette described the doubles match as a "thrilling" win. Ran was carried shoulder-high around the Tel Aviv stadium, as the 10,000-strong crowd applauded. With the tie clinched for Israel, the reverse singles rubbers were "dead", and instead of best-of-five matches, best-of-three sets were played, with the outcomes of little to no importance. Israel wrapped up a 4-1 victory over Russia, as Levy defeated Kunitsyn 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2), while Sela retired with a wrist injury while down 3-4 in the first set against Andreev.

Israel will next face the the Spanish Davis Cup team in Spain on September 18-20, in Israel's first appearance in the Davis Cup semifinals. "Everything is possible, everything starts at zero-zero," said Erlich. "Obviously it will be very difficult, especially playing there on clay. We do our best, we give our hearts, and more than that we cannot do."

Olympics

Erlich and Ram represented Israel at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athensmarker, and reached the quarterfinals.

Major finals

Grand Slam finals

Doubles: 1 (1-0)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Winner 2008 Australian Openmarker Hard Andy Ram Arnaud Clément

Michaël Llodra
7–5, 7–6(4)


Doubles finals

Wins (13)

Legend
Grand Slam (1)
Tennis Masters Cup
ATP Masters Series (2)
ATP International Series Gold (1)
ATP Tour (9)


No Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponents in final Score in final
1 July 10, 2000 Newport, U.S. Grass Harel Levy Kyle Spencer
Mitch Sprengelmeyer
7–6(2), 7–5
2 September 29, 2003 Bangkok, Thailandmarker Hard Andy Ram Jarkko Nieminen
Andrew Kratzmann
6–3, 7–6(4)
3 October 13, 2003 Lyon, France Carpet Andy Ram Nicolas Mahut
Julien Benneteau
6–1, 6–3
4 October 11, 2004 Lyon, France Carpet Andy Ram Radek Štěpánek
Jonas Björkman
7–6(2), 6–2
5 February 25, 2005 Rotterdam, Netherlands Hard Andy Ram Cyril Suk
Pavel Vízner
6–4, 4–6, 6–3
6 June 20, 2005 Nottingham, England Grass Andy Ram Simon Aspelin
Todd Perry
4–6, 6–3, 7–5
7 January 9, 2006 Adelaidemarker, Australia Hard Andy Ram Paul Hanley
Kevin Ullyett
7–6(4), 7–6(10)
8 June 26, 2006 Nottingham, England Grass Andy Ram Igor Kunitsyn
Dmitry Tursunov
6–3, 6–3
9 August 28, 2006 New Haven, U.S. Hard Andy Ram Mariusz Fyrstenberg
Marcin Matkowski
6–3, 6–3
10 October 2, 2006 Bangkok, Thailand Hard Andy Ram Andy Murray
Jamie Murray
6–2, 2–6, [10-4]
11 August 19, 2007 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard Andy Ram Bob Bryan
Mike Bryan
4–6, 6–3, [13-11]
12 January 26, 2008 Australian Openmarker, Australia Hard Andy Ram Arnaud Clément
Michaël Llodra
7–5, 7–6(4)
13 March 21, 2008 Indian Wellsmarker, U.S. Hard Andy Ram Daniel Nestor
Nenad Zimonjić
6–4, 6–4


Runner-ups (12)

Year Championship Partnering Opponent in final Score in final
2004 Chennai, India Andy Ram Rafael Nadal Tommy Robredo 6–7(3), 6–4, 3–6
2004 Rotterdam, Netherlands Andy Ram Paul Hanley Radek Štěpánek 7–5, 6–7(5), 5–7
2005 Los Angeles, U.S. Andy Ram Rick Leach Brian MacPhie 3–6, 4–6
2005 Toronto, Canada Andy Ram Wayne Black Kevin Ullyett 7–6(5), 3–6, 0–6
2005 Bangkok, Thailand Andy Ram Paul Hanley Leander Paes 6–5(5), 1–6, 2–6
2005 Vienna, Austria Andy Ram Mark Knowles Daniel Nestor 3–5, 4–5(2)
2006 Rotterdam, Netherlands Andy Ram Paul Hanley Kevin Ullyett 6–7(4), 6–7(2)
2006 Rome AMSmarker, Italy Andy Ram Mark Knowles Daniel Nestor 4–6, 7–5, [11-13]
2007 Las Vegas, U.S. Andy Ram Bob Bryan Mike Bryan 6–7(6), 2–6
2007 Indian Wells AMSmarker Andy Ram Martin Damm Leander Paes 4–6, 4–6
2007 Washingtonmarker, U.S. Andy Ram Bob Bryan Mike Bryan 6–7(5), 6–3, [7-10]
2008 Cincinnati, U.S. Andy Ram Bob Bryan Mike Bryan 6–4, 6–7(2), [7-10]


Personal

Erlich is a fan of the soccer team Maccabi Haifa.

References

External links




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