DUDI SELA 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe’er will have to defeat a Williams sister for the first time in her
career on Sunday if she’s to reach a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam tournament for
the first time in three years.
The 23-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 19 in
the world and seeded 16th at Flushing Meadows, will face No. 3- seeded Venus
Williams in the fourth round of the US Open after defeating Flavia Pennetta
(19), who had made the quarterfinals in New York in the last two
Pe’er, who has lost all 10 of her previous meetings against the
Williams sisters, five to Venus and five to Serena, beat Pennetta 6-4, 6-4 in
one hour and 31 minutes on Friday, showing a significant improvement from her
play in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Pe’er, who has reached
just one quarterfinal in her past six events, claimed the first break of the
match in the 10th game to take the first set before racing into a 4-0 lead in
the second set.
Pennetta reeled off four straight games to tie the score,
but Pe’er would break the Italian’s serve in the 10th game once more to complete
a straight-sets victory.
Dudi Sela’s US Open campaign was cut short on
Friday in the second round with a 6- 1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, four-set defeat to
Mikhail Youzhny (12).
Youzhny stormed through the first two sets, and
despite cutting the deficit by taking the third, Sela could not force a decider
and will now turn his focus to Israel’s Davis Cup tie against Austria over the
weekend of September 16-19.
On Saturday, Yoni Erlich and Jordan Kerr, who
beat Andy Ram and Julian Knowle in the first round of the doubles tournament,
were knocked out in the second round after a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 loss to Jeremy Chardy
and Christopher Kes.
Pe’er, on the other hand, has another big match at
the US Open to look forward to, and she will have to be at her very best to make
the last eight of a Grand Slam tournament for the third time in her
Williams has been in excellent form, with her play sparkling as
much as her sequined dress. She easily eliminated 185th-ranked qualifier
Minella of Luxembourg 6-2, 6-1 on Friday night to reach the US Open’s
round for the 12th time in 12 trips to the tournament.
“My whole thing
was to try to bank on my experience, which so far is working,” said
who is playing in her first tournament since losing in the quarterfinals
Wimbledon. “My concern is always to be able to make the play and to play
level that I’m used to.”
That resume of hers includes seven Grand Slam
singles titles, including at the US Open in 2000 and 2001.
She also was
the runner-up in New York in 1997 and 2002.
After losing in the Wimbledon
quarterfinals June 29, the American was supposed to return to the tour
hard-court circuit in early August at Cincinnati, then play at
But she hurt her knee shortly before Cincinnati, and came to
New York without any match preparation.
How’s that working out? Williams
has dropped a combined 17 games through three rounds and is ready for
“Obviously she played a good match, and the first seed that I’ll
have the opportunity to play,” Williams said of Pe’er.
“We’ve had a lot
of good matches in the past. I think one of the best matches in her
against Serena that I watched. So I know she has the talent to do
She already has in her career. I want to just get out there and execute
to the point where I get to that next round.
“I’ve always had a little
bit of the upper hand against her, so hopefully that will give me a
of an advantage in the next match.”AP contributed to this report