Shahar Pe'er 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe’er faces an uphill battle to reach the third round of the Australian
Open for a third straight year following Friday’s draw for the first Grand Slam
tournament of 2012.
The Israeli, ranked No. 37 in the world, was lucky
enough to be drawn against Australian Isabella Holland (182) in the first round,
but should she progress she will likely next face world No. 15 Sabine Lisicki,
who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year.
Pe’er will at least be
arriving in Melbourne boosted by her performance at the Hobart International,
despite falling to a 7-6 (1), 6-3 defeat to Yanina Wickmayer (29) in the
semifinals on Friday.
Pe’er saved two set points in the ninth game (5- 3)
and another one three games later (6-5) to force a tiebreak, but there was no
way back after Wickmayer won the first five points of the breaker.
Belgian carried the momentum into the second set, racing out to a 5-1 lead, and
despite winning the next two games, Pe’er dropped her serve once more in the
ninth game to lose the match.
“Obviously I wanted to try to win the
tournament, but I did my best,” said Pe’er, who is now 2-4 all-time against
Wickmayer. “It’s a good start of the year for me, and hopefully I’ll play
better and better.”
Dudi Sela (73), who will also be entering the Aussie
Open on the back of a confidence-boosting result after reaching his first ATP
Tour quarterfinal in more than a year-and-a-half in the Chennai Open, was drawn
to play Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci (38) for a second straight time in an opening
round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Sela came back from two sets down for
the first time in his career to get the better of Bellucci in the first round of
the US Open last year and also beat the Brazilian when they played in the ATP
Tour Challenger Finals in November.
Julia Glushko’s (209) hopes of being
Israel’s third representative in the singles tournaments in Melbourne ended on
Friday with a 7-5, 6-2 loss to Andrea Hlavackova (116) in the second round of