(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Israel’s top female players continued to struggle in the Far East this week, with Shahar Pe’er dropping to a heartbreaking 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 defeat to Alize Cornet in the second round of the Guangzhou International in China on Wednesday.
Pe’er, who is ranked at No. 135 in the world, was two points away from victory over world No. 22 Cornet when she led 6-3, 5-3 and 30-0 on her serve. However, she failed to close out the match, with Cornet winning 10 of the final 11 games in the stifling Chinese heat to clinch victory in two hours and 15 minutes.
It was less than three months ago that Israel had two female players in the world’s top 80.
However, both Pe’er and Julia Glushko have seen their ranking plummet over recent weeks following early exit after early exit.
In her past 10 tournaments, Pe’er has progressed past the second round only once, losing in the first round five times.
Glushko declared at the beginning of the year that she will be disappointed should she fail to break into the WTA’s top-50 in 2014.
However, she will have to fight for her place in the world’s top-200 in small ITF tournaments over the coming weeks after dropping a further 12 places to No. 167 earlier this week.
Glushko was ousted in the first round once more on Tuesday, losing 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes in Seoul, South Korea to Karolina Pliskova (32) of the Czech Republic.
The 24-year-old suffered her third straight first-round exit, falling at the first hurdle for the 15th time in 25 tournaments this year.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Davis Cup team will discover on Thursday who it will face in Europe/Africa Zone Group I action next year. The blue-andwhite dropped to a 3-2 defeat to Argentina in the World Group playoffs in Sunrise, Florida, on Sunday, with Dudi Sela and Bar Botzer losing their singles rubbers after Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich had given the side a 2-1 lead in their final match together on Saturday.
Israel will be seeded in Thursday’s draw in Dubai together with Spain, Ukraine and the Netherlands, with all four seeds to receive a first-round bye.
The national team’s potential opponents in the second round include Austria, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the winner of the tie between Latvia and Sweden.
The second-round winners will advance to the World Group playoffs.