(photo credit: )
Shahar Pe'er will need to overcome world number 4 Caroline Wozniacki
in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday if she is to
advance to the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time
since Wimbledon in 2008.
The 22-year-old Israeli, who is seeded No. 29 in Melbourne,
continued her dream start to the year on Thursday, defeating Tsvetana
Pironkova (111) 6-1, 6-4 in 82 minutes.
Pe'er, who reached the semifinals in Auckland, New Zealand, in
her first tournament of the season before losing in the final in Hobart
last Saturday, dropped her serve in the opening game of Thursday's
match, but reeled off the next six to take the first set and broke in
the ninth game of the second set before serving out the match.
"I'm very happy," Pe'er said. "I've been playing a lot of matches this year and I've been playing well."
US Open finalist Wozniacki claimed an easy 6-3, 6-1 win over
German Julia Goerges on Thursday and has beaten Pe'er in both of their
previous meetings, including in the first round of the Aussie Open last
"She's a good player," said Pe'er, who has lost six straight matches against top 10 opponents.
"It's going to be a tough match. She's No. 4 in world and had a
great year last year. But I'll come and play my best tennis. I'm coming
in to the match to win it."
Wozniacki is also expecting a difficult encounter on Saturday.
"Pe'er's getting a lot of balls back, and she's a fighter, she
never gives up," she said. "I know she has a lot of supporters out here
so I just need to keep my focus and try to be the one who's dictating."
Pe'er also played doubles on Thursday, progressing to the second round with Galina Voskoboeva.
The Israeli/Kazakh duo defeated Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova and Czech Renata Voracova 6-2, 7-5.
Andy Ram suffered a disappointing first round exit in the men's doubles tournament on Thursday.
Ram and Michael Llodra, seeded No. 13, lost 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to
France's Julien Benneteau and Belgium's Steve Darcis Dudi Sela, who was
knocked out in the first round of the singles tournament on Tuesday,
won his first-round doubles match with Russia's Igor Kunitsyn, beating
Marco Chiudinelli and Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2.