Erlich Notches 20th Title, Teams With Sitak For Newport Crown
The Israeli-Kiwi duo prevailed 6-1, 6-2 over fourth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela to complete a ruthless campaign on the grass of Newport. They dropped just one set all week, including victory over Lleyton Hewitt and Jordan Thompson, before defeating a trio of seeded opponents.
Competing together for just the second time, Erlich and Sitak notched their first team title. They previously teamed up at the 2015 US Open, falling in the first round. But this time, 41-year-old Erlich and 32-year-old Sitak found their rhythm from the first ball. The Israeli scored his 20th tour-level title and first on grass since 2011, while the Kiwi celebrated his fourth crown.
"We just played each other at Wimbledon (Sitak/Sharan d. Erlich/Matkowski in five sets) and I thought he played really well there," said Sitak. "I knew we could go all the way this week. We just focused point after point. It's great to have his experience and he played all the big points just like the big boss he is. He made everything and I'm really happy the way we played today."
Erlich's 20th title carries added significance, considering his first also came in Newport. He teamed up with countryman Harel Levy for the 2000 crown in his ATP World Tour debut.
"I can't believe it was 18 years ago," said Erlich. "I'm proud of myself that I'm still going and I played great this week. I have great chemistry with Artem and great energy together. I'm glad we connected quickly here and from the first match we played solid together. We helped each other to play the best. That's why I have a young guy like him."
The champions split $30,190 in prize money and earn 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points, while runners-up Arevalo and Reyes-Varela take home $15,870 and 150 points. It was the first ATP World Tour doubles final for both players.
Did You Know?
Erlich's 20 titles have come with six different partners. He has one each with Sitak, Levy, Novak Djokovic, Colin Fleming and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, with the majority of his success coming with compatriot Andy Ram (15 titles together).