Tennis Davis Cup Israel Through to World Playoffs After And Yoni Put Away Poles at Home

Buoyed by the home crowd, the Israelis took a commanding lead in the series on Friday, thanks to the team's top two singles performers.

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Israel clinched a spot in the Davis Cup World Group Playoffs yesterday, as its top doubles team of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich defeated Poland's Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in front of 4,000 crazed fans at the Israel Tennis Center in Ramat Hasharon. Israel leads Poland 3-0 in their best-of-five Group 1 second-round showdown.

Buoyed by the home crowd, the Israelis took a commanding lead in the series on Friday, thanks to the team's top two singles performers. In the first match, Dudi Sela dispatched Marcin Gawron in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, 6-4. Then, 24-year-old Amir Weintraub made what would turn out to be an unforgettable Davis Cup debut, defeating Jerzy Janowicz in a thrilling five-setter 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7 ), 6-3.

Andy Ram, left, and Yoni Erlich during their match yesterday. Credit: Nir Keidar

Ram and Erlich struggled in the early stages of their match, but after losing the first set they settled down and allowed their game to shine. Utilizing tremendous instinct at the net and heavy topspin on their ground strokes, AndYoni rode the wave of support at Ramat Hasharon in one of the most entertaining displays of tennis ever witnessed in Israel.

"We knew that here in Ramat Hasharon nobody could beat us," Erlich said after yesterday's triumph. "We haven't had this kind of feeling in a long time."

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