Dudi Sela got the new tennis season off to a winning start on Monday, while
Shahar Pe’er claimed just three games in losing her first match of the
Sela, ranked No. 73 in the world, defeated Lukas Lacko (81) of
Slovakia 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 26 minutes in the first round in Chennai,
India, converting four of 10 break points.
The 28-year-old Israeli, who
won just four matches on the ATP Tour last season after spending much of the
year on the Challenger circuit, will face a far sterner test in the second round
when he comes up against world No. 15, Mikhail Youzhny, who received a
Sela and Youzhny will be meeting for the fourth time in
their careers, but the first since 2010.
The Russian beat Sela at
Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, with the Israeli defeating Youzhny in the
Davis Cup the previous year.
Meanwhile, Pe’er’s 2013 season was cut short
in September after she was diagnosed with a partial tear of her foot’s plantar
Opening her campaign ranked 77th, she showed plenty of rust on
Monday, losing 6-0, 6-3 to Jie Zheng (53) in the first round in Shenzhen,
Pe’er held her serve just once and squandered 14 of 16 break
points. She will be aiming to record her first victory of 2014 when she takes
part in the Hobart International next week.
Both Sela and Pe’er, as well
as Julia Glushko (ranked 91st), who lost in the second round of the Brisbane
qualifiers last week, are guaranteed a main draw berth in the singles
tournaments at the Australian Open, which gets underway in Melbourne on January
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders