Israel’s three representatives in the singles tournaments at Roland Garros will have to spring surprise victories if they are to progress past the first round in Paris this week.
Not only were Dudi Sela, Shahar Pe’er and Julia Glushko all drawn on Friday to face higher ranked opponents, but all three are also entering the year’s second Grand Slam event in far from promising form.
Sela, who dropped 26 places to No. 110 in the world last week after losing the ranking points he earned last year for winning the Challenger tournament in Busan, South Korea, has registered just a single victory on clay so far this year, and that too came in the Davis Cup tie versus Slovenia.
Sela has played in three clay tournaments since, losing in all three in the first round and failing to take more than seven games in any of the defeats.
The 29-year-old Sela received a relatively reasonable draw in Paris after being paired with American Donald Young (80).
Sela has only progressed past the first round of the French Open once in his previous five appearances, but Young is also far from a clay-court specialist and has never reached the second round in Paris.
Pe’er (86) enters Roland Garros on the back of two consecutive first-round exits prior to which she had reached two straight quarterfinals after going eight months without making the last eight of a WTA Tour event. The Israeli No. 1 faces a daunting prospect in the first round in Paris after being drawn to play Canada’s rising star Eugenie Bouchard (19).
The 20-year-old Bouchard has not convinced on clay this season, being knocked out in the first round in both Rome and Madrid in recent weeks.
However, she reached the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year and is a clear favorite against Pe’er.
Glushko (98) has yet to find her form in 2014 and is still searching for her first WTA main draw win of the year.
Glushko will come up against budding talent Donna Vekic of Croatia in the first round of Roland Garros. The 18-yearold Vekic won her first WTA Tour title last month after beating world No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova in the final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.