Shahar Pe'er defeated Australian wild card Alicia Molik 6-1, 6- 2, in the first round of the $1,340,000 Zurich Open on Tuesday, setting up an intriguing second-round meeting with world number three Maria Sharapova.
Pe'er (23) swept Molik (162) aside with ease, quickly opening up a substantial lead in both sets and never allowing the Australian to find the form that once saw her reach No. 8 in the WTA rankings.
Molik won the first game of the match, but then Pe'er reeled off an amazing 10 straight games to win the first set and take a 4-0 lead in the second set. Pe'er's run ended any hope Molik had of victory and she closed out the match in the eighth game of the second set, winning it 6-2.
The win guarantees Pe'er a little over $16,000 and 42 ranking points, which will edge her closer to the world's top 20 players.
Pe'er lost her first two career meetings with Sharapova and will be a huge underdog in the secondround match. Sharapova, the world's most celebrated female tennis player, had to retire from last week's Kremlin Cup in Moscow with an injury and her condition ahead of the match against Pe'er is still unclear.
Ram and Erlich advance to Madrid quarterfinals
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich wasted no time in booking their spot in the quarterfinals of the ATP Masters Series tournament in Madrid on Tuesday, defeating Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and American James Blake 6-0, 6-3, in 46 minutes.
The Israelis won the first set in an astonishing 19 minutes, with Bhupathi and Blake seemingly stunned by Ram's and Erlich's play.
Bhupathi and Blake started much better in the second set and broke the Israelis in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. However, Ram and Erlich broke back immediately and grabbed a 3-2 lead, and went on to win three of the next four games to close out the set 6-3.
A good showing by Ram and Erlich in Madrid will see them officially book their spot in the season-ending Masters Cup tournament in Shanghai, which features the world's top eight doubles teams. Their opponents in the quarterfinals will be number three seeds Daniel Nestor and Mark Knowles.