shahar pe'er at Madrid Open_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Pe’er is expected to plummet down the WTA rankings after falling to a 6-3, 6-2, defeat to Alisa Kleybanova in the first round of the Madrid Open on Monday.
The Israeli, who celebrated her 24th birthday on Sunday, was within five ranking points of a place in the top-10 in recent weeks.
But following her opening-round loss in the Spanish capital, she is set to lose the 450 points she picked up for reaching the semis in Madrid last year and subsequently drop down the rankings.
Pe’er, who fell two places to No. 13 in the world earlier Monday, got 78 percent of her first serves in against Kleybanova, who she had beaten in two previous career meetings.
However, Kleybanova (25) won almost all the important points, converting four of five break attempts, and wrapped up the win in one hour and 13 minutes.
Also, Dudi Sela tumbled down the ATP rankings on Monday, dropping 28 places to No. 139, his lowest position since July 2007.
As a result, Sela, 26, is set to forgo his participation in the Roland Garros qualifiers and try and pick up precious rankings points on the Challenger circuit in the hope of returning to the top-100.
Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal will have to be at his best to get through a tough draw and cope with the faster conditions if he is to win a second straight Madrid Masters title this week, the world No. 1 said.
Nadal, who has a bye into the second round, could meet Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, in the third round while eighth seed Juergen Melzer of Austria or 12th-seeded American Andy Roddick potentially lie in wait in the quarterfinals.
“The draw, without doubt, was not favorable,” Nadal, who won back-to-back tournaments on his favored clay at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open last month, said at a news conference.
“What’s more, it was pretty negative,” the 24-year-old Mallorcan added.
“In a tournament of this importance, all the best players in the world
are here and you cannot expect an easy draw because it rarely happens.
“Obviously I have a difficult draw and I will have to play at my best.”
Nadal said the altitude of the Spanish capital, which stands at around
650 meters above sea level, would be a factor as it means the ball flies
faster through the air and favors players with a bigger serve.
The courts at the futuristic Magic Box arena are also appreciably
quicker than those at other clay events such as Monte Carlo, Rome or the
French Open, meaning hard-court specialists feel more at home.
“The altitude is a 100 percent proven fact and it is always a little bit more dangerous,” Nadal said.
“But that’s not the problem, it just means that the match is always more
out of control,” he added. “The problem is the opponents.”