Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er.
Less than 10 hours into this year’s Australian Open, all three of Israel’s
representatives in the singles tournaments had already been knocked
Dudi Sela, Shahar Pe’er and Julia Glushko all entered Monday’s first
round matches as underdogs and were all sent packing after failing to upset
their higher-ranked opponents.
Sela, ranked No. 68 in the world, won two
of the first three sets, but ultimately succumbed 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-3,
6-3 to Jarko Nieminen (39) of Finland after three hours and 38 minutes under the
stifling Melbourne sun.
“The second set was the key and had I won it the
match would have ended differently,” said Sela, who was ousted in the first
round of the Australian Open for a fifth straight year.
disappointed to be knocked out in the first round, but I will continue to work
hard and hope to have a good year.”
Pe’er (77) was eliminated by former
doubles partner Monica Niculescu (60) of Romania after just one hour and 24
minutes, losing 6-4, 6-1.
The Israeli held her serve just twice in the
match and registered 38 unforced errors on the way to her first opening- round
exit in Melbourne since 2009.
Julia Glushko’s (89) Australian Open main
draw debut ended in defeat, but she gave Lucie Safarova (27) a run for her money
for two hours and eight minutes before dropping to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
“I began the first set well, but couldn’t keep it up,” said
Glushko. “I was determined to fight back in the second set and took advantage of
Safarova’s drop in form. However, I couldn’t maintain my level of play in the
third set. I’m disappointed, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the
Pe’er will remain in Melbourne for the time being to take part in
the doubles tournament, in which she will team up with Spaniard Silvia
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will face Daniele Bracciali and
Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round of the men’s doubles later this
In other Day 1 action, Novak Djokovic showed some early season
rustiness but Serena Williams roared into the second round like a well-oiled
machine as the tournament favorites took center stage on the first
Williams, looking for her sixth title, closed the evening on Rod
Laver Arena with a 6-2, 6-1 demolition of local hope Ashleigh Barty after
four-time champion Djokovic had overcome Lukas Lacko 6-3, 7-6(2),
Earlier, there were shocks aplenty in the women’s draw with the
biggest coming when sixth seed Petra Kvitova fell victim to Thai world No. 88
Luksika Kumkhum. There were upsets for two Italian seeds as well, Sara Errani
beaten 6-3, 6-2 by German Julia Goerges and her doubles partner Roberta Vinci
going down 6-4, 6-3 to China’s Zheng Jie.
Serena’s sister Venus Williams
also bid an early farewell to the tournament when she blew a 3-0 lead in the
deciding set to lose 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
top seed Nadal gets his campaign underway on Tuesday along with two of the other
“big four” of men’s tennis, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and 17-time grand
slam champion Roger Federer.Reuters contributed to this report.
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