Shahar Pe’er advanced to the second round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since January 2013 on Monday, beating Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the US Open in New York.
The 27-year-old Israeli hadn’t won a match in a major since the first round of last year’s Australian Open, but she made the most of a comfortable draw at Flushing Meadows to finally end her barren spell.
Pe’er, who is ranked at No. 155 in the world and only received a main draw berth as she was ranked much higher at the cut-off date, crucially converted 4-of-9 break points, while dropping her serve only once to Konta (118).
Pe’er, who hit 19 unforced errors to Konta’s 34, has a golden opportunity to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2011 Australian Open with her next opponent being world No. 121, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The Croatian stunned No. 25 seed Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the first round on Monday.
Pe’er spoke after the match of the significance of representing Israel at this difficult time in the country.
“I’m kind of an ambassador,” Pe’er said. “I’m really pro-Israel. I’m always happy to represent Israel.
“We want it all to stop,” Pe’er added. “We are under fire all the time. I hope we reach a ceasefire soon. Whenever they shoot, we defend. It’s tough. We are very strong as a nation. That’s what I feel.”
Meanwhile, Julia Glushko (101) is set to plummet down the world rankings after losing 6-3, 6-2 to American wild-card Madison Brengle (123) in the first round on Monday.
Glushko reached the third round of the US Open last year, but couldn’t get anything going against Brengle and was ousted in just 66 minutes, committing 40 unforced errors to the American’s 13.
Israel’s lone representative in the men’s singles, Dudi Sela (83), will come up against Carlos Berlocq (63) in the first round on Wednesday.