(photo credit: AP)
Israel's tennis stars had a day of mixed fortunes at Wimbledon on Thursday as Shahar Pe'er lost in the second round of the singles but won in the doubles, and Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich advanced in the men's doubles.
Pe'er's singles campaign ended earlier than expected when the Israeli lost 6-4, 7-6(5) to Shuai Peng of China at the All England Club.
Pe'er's inability to hold her serves cost her dearly with the 46th-ranked Peng breaking the Israeli No. 1 four times during the match.
The lack of experience on the grass courts also hurt Pe'er's (24) cause, with the green surface not suiting her style of play.
Pe'er at least consoled herself with success in the women's doubles, defeating Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden and Martina Muller of Germany 6-1, 6-1 with partner Marion Bartoli of France.
Disappointment over Pe'er's loss was also eased slightly by Ram and Erlich, who defeated the Czech Republic's Ivo Minar and Jiri Vanek 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round.
The Israelis were in complete control of the match from the start, breaking Minar and Vanek in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set. Ram and Erlich continued to dominate the match and broke the Czechs twice again in the second set. The third set was the tightest of the match as Ram and Erlich settled for the one break to complete the victory.
In the second round, fifth-ranked Ram and Erlich will play either Wayne Arthurs and Justin Gimelstob or Spaniards David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo.
A few hours earlier, Pe'er began her match poorly and Peng seemed more composed. The Chinese woman won her first service game without losing a point and broke Pe'er immediately to open up an early lead. Pe'er did not despair and won the next eight points to tie the match. Both players went on to hold on to their service games before the Israeli broke for a second time to take what seemed to be an important 4-3 lead. Pe'er failed to take advantage of her slight lead and dropped three consecutive games as Peng won the first set.
Pe'er opened up an early 2-0 lead in the second set, but failed to convert two break points in the third game that would have given her an important double-break cushion. Two games later, the Israeli squandered two break points once again as Peng battled through and held her serve to tie the set at 3-all.
From that point onwards, both players held serves and the set went into a tiebreaker. Peng raced forward at the start and won the first five points. Two points from defeat, Pe'er rebounded with four straight points that gave her hope of a comeback.
However, Pe'er's serve let her down one last time and Peng won the two points she needed for victory to complete the win.