Despite facing a tricky match against Flavia Pennetta in the third round of the
Australian Open on Saturday, Shahar Pe’er will be confident of making it through
to the last 16 of a Grand Slam event for the third time in the past four
Pe’er, ranked number 12 in the world and seeded 10th in
Melbourne, defeated Romaina’s Sorana Cirstea (94) 6-3, 6-2 in the second round
on Thursday, never dropping her serve while converting three of nine break
Pennetta (25) easily beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 6-2 in the
second round on Thursday, but the 23- year-old Israeli seems to be improving
with every match, losing just seven games in the first two rounds at Melbourne
Pe’er has a losing 2-3 record against Pennetta, but has beaten the
Italian in their past two meetings, including in the third round of last year’s
In the meantime, Pe’er will be looking to reach the third round
of the doubles tournament on Friday.
Pe’er and China’s Peng Shuai, seeded
14th, defeated Germans Andrea Petkovic and Tatjana Malek 6-2, 6-3 in the first
round on Thursday and will next play Kimiko Date-Krumm and Shuai
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich claimed their first victory since
officially returning to being full-time partners at the start of 2011, coming
back from a set down to beat Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on
After more than two years playing mostly with other partners,
Ram and Erlich, who are seeded 14th in Melbourne, are committed to playing
together throughout 2011.
Their comeback started off with two straight
first round exits at Brisbane and Sydney, but they will be hoping to bounce back
at the Aussie Open, where they are playing together for the first time since
winning the title in 2008.
The Israeli duo comes up against Australians
Carsten Bell and Chris Guccione in the second round on Friday.
if Rafael Nadal is getting nervous as he eases closer to winning his fourth
consecutive Grand Slam, he sure isn’t showing it.
After his 6-2, 6-1, 6-1
win Thursday over American qualifier Ryan Sweeting, the Spanish star appeared as
comfortable talking about his next match – against 18-year-old Australian
Bernard Tomic – as he was in beating Sweeting so convincingly.
a little bit tomorrow, rest in the hotel, maybe going to the aquarium – I go
every year. Nothing different,” Nadal said, when asked about his preparations
for Saturday’s match.
Nadal hasn’t had any real problems in recent Grand
Slams – Thursday’s win was his 23rd in a row in majors going back to the first
round of the French Open last year. Since then, he’s carted back to his home in
Majorca trophies from Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.
from the Australian Open – the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup that he won in 2009
– would make him the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major
titles at once.
The other player looking as impressive as Nadal this week
is US Open champion Kim Clijsters, who is fast becoming a favorite for the
women’s title in the absence of defending champion Serena Williams with a foot
On Thursday, she beat Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-1,
Seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic lost 7-6 (3), 6-3 to China’s Shuai,
continuing an unimpressive streak of seven losses in eight
Fourth-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden advanced to the third
round with a 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-1 win over Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, as did
fifthseeded Andy Murray, who beat Illya Marchenko of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3,
In the last match of the night, 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis
advanced with a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin
del Potro, who called the trainer on three straight changes of end in the second
set to have his problem right wrist treated.
Del Potro played only three
tournaments, including a run to the fourth round here, last year due to the