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.
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.