Shahar Pe’er breezed into the second round of the Australian Open in a mere 57
minutes on Tuesday, thrashing Australia’s Isabella Holland 6-2, 6-0.
Israeli, ranked No. 34 in the world, was accurate on a superb 80 percent (39 of
49) of her first serves and converted five of seven break points for an easy
Standing between Pe’er and a third straight appearance in the third
round of the year’s opening Grand Slam is a tough encounter against world No. 15
The German, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last
year, needed three sets to overcome Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 4- 6, 6-4 in the first
round on Tuesday.
Lisicki and Pe’er have split their previous four
meetings, but the Israeli won their only encounter in the last two years,
beating the German in straight sets in the first round in Cincinnati last
Elsewhere, Dudi Sela has already turned his focus away from
Melbourne after being knocked out in the first round on Tuesday.
(75) was beaten 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3 by Thomaz Bellucci (37) in a match far tighter
than the eventual result indicates.
The Israeli, who defeated Bellucci in
both their previous meetings, served for the first set in the 10th game, only to
be broken before falling in the tiebreak.
Sela raced into a 3-0 lead in
the second set, but dropped the next three games and was broken once more in the
ninth. Bellucci clinched the set on his serve and pulled ahead early in the
third before completing the win.
Meanwhile, champion Novak Djokovic made
a triumphant return to the venue that kick-started his remarkable 2011 as the
former joker of the courts emphatically demonstrated he was not prepared to cede
his Australian Open crown without a fight.
Djokovic’s victory in
Melbourne last year sparked a remarkable season in which he won three grand slam
titles and compiled a 70-6 record as he finally overhauled Rafa Nadal and Roger
Federer as the world number one.
On Tuesday, in baking hot conditions
similar to those that had tripped the 2008 champion up in his first Melbourne
Park title defense, the Serb produced an emphatic 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 victory over
Italian journeyman Paolo Lorenzi in 92 minutes.
“It took me a couple
games to get into the right rhythm,” Djokovic, who entertained the fans with
some flashes of brilliance including an audacious “through the legs” shot, said.
“You know, it’s a bit difficult conditions. “I think it was really the
hottest day since I’ve arrived here, so trying to get used to that. But I think
I played well after the first set was finished.”
Djokovic’s fellow US
Open champion, Australia’s Sam Stosur, wilted in the pressure cooker environment
on Rod Laver Arena in front of local fans holding heightened expectations as she
crashed to a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
“I really, really
wanted to do well here and over the Australian summer,” sixth seed Stosur said
of becoming the biggest casualty of the first round. “I did everything I could
to try and give myself a good opportunity. “It obviously didn’t happen
and it’s not through lack of trying or not wanting it or anything like that. I
mean, you can’t pick the times that you want to play well. That’s
Local fans, however, did have something to cheer about when
Lleyton Hewitt rattled off six successive games and come back from a 5-1 fourth
set deficit to beat Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 and advance
to the second round.
Hewitt, a former world No. 1 who now appears to
approach matches as a man who has hired the court for four hours and is going to
get his money’s worth, blew a two-set lead and failed to capitalize on Stebe
requiring virtually constant treatment on his left calf muscle before he
clinched victory in three hours, 58 minutes.
The Australian will now face
15thseed Andy Roddick, who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 though the
American said that he expected the match to go the distance, despite Hewitt now
being ranked 181st in the world.
“I don’t pay much attention to rankings
when it comes to Lleyton. He knows how to win tennis matches,” Roddick
“He’s a fighter. I have as much respect for him as I do for anybody
in the game, how he goes about his business, how he competes, how professional
“I’ve won the most recent meetings, but I think out of the six
that I’ve won, four or five have gone the distance to the last set. We always
have a bit of a war. I probably don’t see it being any
Women’s title contenders Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova
both had lopsided victories in the afternoon heat.
World No. 2 Kvitova
and fourth seed Sharapova were unruffled by the hot conditions with Kvitova’s
ruthlessly efficient 6-2, 6-0 victory over Vera Dushevina taking a tick over one
Sharapova was as merciless on Hisense Arena, beating Argentina’s
Gisela Dulko 6-0, 6-1 in 58 minutes.
Sharapova had looked like inflicting
the third ‘double bagel’ (6-0, 6-0 win) of the tournament in two years before
Dulko broke her serve in the third game of the second set, to a massive cheer
and sustained applause.
Two other title favorites, however, had to shake
off early rust before running out comfortable winners.
Serena Williams, who did not start her match until 23:30 local time after
Hewitt’s marathon, struggled to get going against Tamira Paszek of Austria
before she won 6-3, 6-2 in 79 minutes.
British fourth seed Andy Murray
lost the first set of his match to American teenager Ryan Harrison.
2010 and 2011 runner-up at Melbourne Park, however, got accustomed to Harrison’s
style of play by the second set and was untroubled thereafter in a 4-6, 6-3,
“I’ve never played or hit against him before, so it always
takes a bit of time to get used to the guy you’re playing,” Murray
“But once I did, I started to play better.”Reuters
contributed to this report