Pe’er, Sela round out Israelis in the field

By AP
May 23, 2010 06:18

Shahar Pe'er hopes that the sizzling form she has sustained over the past couple of months will hold up at the French Open this week.

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Shahar Peer profile pink

Shahar Peer profile pink 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Shahar Pe’er will face qualifier Nuria Llagostera in the first round at Roland Garros, but she will likely need to overcome the best women’s player in the world if she’s to make it into the quarterfinals in Paris for the first time in her career.

The 23-year-old Israeli, who enters the French Open placed at No. 19 in the world, her highest ranking since May 2008, is scheduled to play the winner of the match between Shuai Peng (48) and Vania King (75) in the second round and if she makes it past her first two matches could play world No. 14 Marion Bartoli in the last 32.

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A third round victory will in all likelihood result in a fifth career meeting against world No. 1 Serena Williams, who has beaten Pe’er in all four of their previous matches.

Dudi Sela (58) will face Austria’s Jurgen Melzer (26) in the first round of the men’s tournament.

Four-time champion Justine Henin’s return to Roland Garros might include a third-round match against Maria Sharapova and a rivalry-renewing quarterfinal against Serena Williams.

The bracket also sets up Henin or the No. 1-seeded Williams, who won the 2002 French Open, to face No. 4 Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals. No. 2 Venus Williams could meet No. 5 Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals.

The most intriguing first-round matchup is in the men’s field, where No. 4 Andy Murray will take on Richard Gasquet, a Frenchman who once reached the Wimbledon semifinals and used to be ranked in the top 10 but was suspended for part of last season after testing positive for cocaine.

Defending champion and top-seeded Roger Federer plays 71st-ranked Peter Luczak of Australia in the first round, while four-time champion Rafael Nadal was drawn to begin against 18-year-old Gianni Mina of France, who made his tour-level debut this week and so is only ranked 653rd. Mina got into the field thanks to a wild card from the French tennis federation.

The other possible men’s quarterfinals are Nadal vs No. 7 Fernando Verdasco; No. 3 Novak Djokovic vs No. 6 Andy Roddick; and Murray vs No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Both Williams sisters will start off against Swiss opponents in the first round: Venus takes on Patty Schnyder, a former top-10 player and two-time French Open quarterfinalist now ranked 61st; Serena plays Stefanie Voegele, who is ranked 76th and has a career record of 2-4 at Grand Slam tournaments. Voegele has never faced the younger Williams; Schnyder is 0-10 against the older one.


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