After claiming her first win in six months, Shahar Pe’er returned to losing ways
in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday, while Amir Weintraub’s
Cinderella run also came to an end in Melbourne.
Pe’er, ranked No. 90 in
the world, advanced to the second round after beginning the new season with
consecutive defeats to players ranked outside the top 100, coming on the back of
six straight losses to end 2012.
She failed to record consecutive
victories for the first time since last February on Thursday, falling 6-2, 7-5
to 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm (100) of Japan.
After five consecutive
breaks of serve to start the match, Date-Krumm finally held her serve to take a
4-2 lead and went on to open a 3-0 advantage in the second set, claiming seven
Pe’er fought back to take a 4-3 lead, but Date-Krumm held
her nerve the better of the two players in the closing stages of the second set
to clinch her progress.
Weintraub (196), who won his first ever match in
the main draw of a Grand Slam event in the opening round after coming through
the qualifiers, dropped to a 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-4 loss to No.
After losing the first set in 22 minutes,
Weintraub reached a set point in the 12th game of the second set, but failed to
convert it and was eventually sent packing in straight sets.
defeat, Weintraub is expected to climb around 20 places when the new world
rankings are released. He also amassed nearly $48,000 in prize money, almost
equal to a third of his earnings throughout his career until last
There was some good news for Israeli tennis on Thursday, with Yoni
Erlich progressing to the second round of the doubles tournament.
and partner Kevin Anderson, who is teaming up with the Israeli due to Andy Ram’s
injury absence, stunned defending champions and No.
2 seeds Leander Paes
and Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5.
The Israeli/South African duo will next play
Australians Matthew Barton and John Millman.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer and
Serena Williams showed there was plenty of life left in their relatively old
legs by easing into the third round of the Australian Open on a day when
sweltering heat tested the stamina of thirtysomething and teenager
Sunscreen and icepacks were the order of the day on Thursday as
temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius in the late afternoon but 31-year-old
Federer was coolness personified in the early evening as he dismissed Nikolay
Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Third seed Williams, also 31, kept her time on
court to a minimum as she swept aside Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 before Andy
Murray, her counterpart in the men’s draw, clinically dispatched Portugal’s Joao
Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Women’s defending champion and world No. 1 Victoria
Azarenka, 23, proceeded easily enough in the relative cool of the morning with a
6-1, 6-0 thrashing of Greek Eleni Daniilidou.
Any hopes the Belarussian
had that Williams, against whom she has a 1-11 record, might be hampered by the
ankle she injured on Tuesday were quickly dashed in the next match on Rod Laver
The American, odds-on favorite to de-throne Azarenka and
capture a 16th Grand Slam title next week, gave herself a fat lip with her own
racket during the first set but was barely troubled otherwise.
chasing an 18th major title, will next face 20- year-old Bernard
Laura Robson was one of 11 teenagers to reach the women’s second
round and she became the third to progress when she beat former Wimbledon
champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 well past midnight, giving Britain two
female players in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since
Reuters contributed to this report
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