Tennis: Pe’er keeps going in Indian Wells

Pe’er, ranked number 20 in the world, defeated 12th-ranked Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.

By AP
March 17, 2010 03:34
2 minute read.
Tennis: Pe’er keeps going in Indian Wells

Shahar Peer 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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Shahar Pe’er claimed her fourth victory of the year over a top-20 player on Monday, a feat she only achieved once throughout 2009.

Pe’er, ranked number 20 in the world, defeated 12th-ranked Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where she will face Jelena Jankovic (9).

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Until last month, Pe’er had gone 10 matches without a victory over a top-10 player.

However, she got the better of Caroline Wozniacki and Na Li on consecutive days in Dubai and despite losing her one and only career meeting with Jankovic, will be confident of upsetting the Serb late Tuesday night.

Jankovic, a former world No. 1, needed nearly three hours to get by Sara Errani of Italy, 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the third round.

Pe’er’s match against Jankovic on Stadium 3 was preceded by Dudi Sela’s (72) third round encounter against Spaniard Tommy Robredo (23) in the men’s tournament in Indian Wells.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic built up a head of steam while losing nine consecutive games over two sets. He let it out by tossing his ballcap after finally winning a game in the third.

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“If I could pull my hair off, I would do it in that moment,” he said.

That wasn’t the only trouble the world’s No. 2 player ran into Monday.

Djokovic staved off triple match point in the third to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (3) in third-round play at the BNP Paribas Open.

Kim Clijsters was upset 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) by Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, joining top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 3 Victoria Azarenka, No. 10 Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin on the sidelines before the fourth round.
“You want to see those big names play, but there’s a lot of younger girls who are making it tough,” Clijsters said.

She had won 15 straight matches at Indian Wells, including titles in 2003 and ‘05, the last time she played here. But the Belgian, who unretired last year and won the US Open, came unglued after leading 4-0 in the tiebreak. She gave up seven consecutive points to lose.

“I let it slip away,” Clijsters said. “She played some really good points to get back into it. She kept me under pressure. I took my foot off the accelerator. That’s most definitely the wrong thing to do.”

In the men’s tournament, defending champion and third-ranked Rafael Nadal needed just over an hour to put away Mario Ancic of Croatia, 6-2, 6-2, in front of a sparse stadium court crowd.

Nadal lost just one first-serve point and never faced a break point in beating Ancic for the fourth time in five meetings. The Spaniard kept the rallies brief, with many not lasting more than five strokes.

“The serve was important, but more important was my rhythm from the baseline,” he said. “I lost only a few points because I didn’t have mistakes, only seven unforced errors in two sets and 29 winners, that’s very good statistics.”

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