SHAHAR PEER 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe’er crashed out of Wimbledon in humbling fashion on Monday afternoon, while Dudi Sela helped lift Israeli spirits by winning just his second Grand Slam match in almost two years.
Pe’er entered Wimbledon on the back of three consecutive first round exits, including at Roland Garros, and she was out of sorts once more in Monday’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Russian Ksenia Pervak.
Sela, on the other hand, won his 16th straight match on Monday, carrying the momentum from winning three consecutive Challenger tournaments into his 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 first round victory over Frederico Gil.
Pe’er, who has slipped 11 places to number 22 in the world in recent months, seemed to be in control of her match after toughing out the first set, but was frustrated with her play throughout the encounter and succumbed to an opponent she would usually expect to easily beat.
“Obviously I’m not used to losing first rounds,” said a stunned and downcast Pe’er. “It’s two grand slams in a row now. It’s not the best feeling, but I have to try my best in the next Grand Slam.”
The turning point of the match arrived in the third game of the second set when Pe’er squandered two break points before being broken to love in the subsequent game.
The Israeli broke back to tie the score at 3-3, but lost her serve again in the 10th game and Pervak (89) soon tied the match.
Pe’er had another chance to swing the contest in her favor, but failed to convert three break points in the third game of the third set and the Russian reeled off three straight games to seize control on her way to the upset.
“I think I had to take my chances and I didn’t do that,” Pe’er said. “That was the whole difference between winning and losing this match.
“Every athlete has ups and down and I hope to start winning matches soon.”
Sela (81) was broken in his first service game, but took three straight games to take a 4-3 lead and broke once more in the 10th to clinch the first set.
The Israeli raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set and quickly wrapped it up before claiming the only break of serve of the third set in the ninth game.
Sela advanced to the second round of a Grand Slam event for just the second time since Wimbledon two years ago, when he reached the last 16.
“After a bad start I controlled the match, but I don’t think I played my best tennis,” said Sela, who will next face the winner of the match between Gilles Simon (16) and Edouard Roger- Vasselin (145). “I think I can play much better, be more aggressive and use more serve and volley. But I did enough for this match and finished it in three sets so I feel good.”
Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal took a while to warm up but made an impressive start to his Wimbledon title defense with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Michael Russell as the 125th championships began in fine weather but then went under cover on Monday.
The Spanish world number one fell behind against the 91st-ranked 33- year-old in the first set before his forehand clicked on Centre Court and he powered into the second round where he will face American Ryan Sweeting.
Five-time champion Venus Williams also progressed with ease before rain arrived late in the afternoon, and Center Court’s translucent sliding roof rolled into place to allow Italy’s Francesca Schiavone to complete a 6- 4, 1-6, 6-3 win over Australia’s forgotten girl Jelena Dokic.
The roof had been used just three times since its completion in 2009 but with showers forecast for much of the first week it looks set to see a bit more action this year.
British hope Andy Murray was due to conclude Center Court play “indoors” later on Monday against Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver, and was locked in a fierce battle after dropping the first set 6-4. He bounced back to take the second set 6-3 at press time.Reuters contributed to this report.