MELBOURNE – Israeli representation at the 2014 Australian Open will continue after Shahar Pe’er and her women’s doubles partner, Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain marched into the quarterfinals on Sunday.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders
Facing Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Michaella Kraijcek of the Netherlands, Pe’er and Soler-Espinosa once again found themselves as underdogs against an in-form pairing that had reached the final in Auckland just two weeks ago.
Indeed, just as in their two previous games, they would need three sets to secure a victory.
Hradecka and Kraijcek played the better tennis in a remarkable first set that could have swung either way with just three of 16 break points being converted. Two such points were won by the Czech/Dutch duo to ensure a 6-4 opening-set success, the first time Pe’er and Soler-Espinosa had dropped the first set in Melbourne.
However, the comeback started immediately with a break of serve at the start of the second set only for it to be reciprocated when Soler- Espinosa served for the set at 5-3.
The blip proved insignificant when the tiebreak fell the way of the Israeli and Spanish duo.
Just 40 points were played in the final set with Pe’er and Soler-Espinosa taking two immediate breaks of serve to quickly secure a 4-0 lead, which turned into a 6-2 final set success for an impressive 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory.
Pe’er can now dream of a repeat of her 2008 run to the Australian Open doubles final, when she was partnered with current Australian Open singles champion Victoria Azarenka.
Up next for Pe’er and Soler-Espinosa in the quarterfinals is a duel against either the all-American pairing of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears or French duo Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia.