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(photo credit: AP)
Israel's tennis star Shahar Pe'er came up short in her quest Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of the French Open, losing to the No. 3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6:4, 6:3 in the round of 16.
The 15th-seeded Pe'er was down 5:0 in the second, but then won three games in a row raising hopes of yet another one of her great comebacks. However, she was unable to pull it through and lost the set by a score of 6:3.
On Saturday, Pe'er produced a tight win over world number 20 Katarina Srebotnik.
Israel's top tennis player battled it out for 128 minutes, eventually securing a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over the Slovenian.
"It was a good and hard match," the 15th seeded Pe'er said after the dramatic win. "We both fought for every ball and every point. I played very well in the first set. In the second set and at the start of the third she raised her level of play, but I fought for every ball and managed to come back from 3-0 in the third set."
The Israeli teenage sensation started her third round match in determined fashion. After a tight hold of serve in the opening game, Pe'er broke early to take a promising 3-1 lead. Srebotnik (20) tried to alter her game-plan, but Pe'er took the first set by a commanding 6-1 margin.
However, the dismal 32-minute opener failed to break Srebotnik's spirits. Pe'er was broken in her first service game of the second set, losing her rhythm and looking out of sorts. The Slovenian, who led 5-0 at one stage, held off a brief Pe'er comeback and forced the decider after winning 6-2.
The third set was evenly contested, with both players committing numerous unforced errors and failing to dominate the proceedings. The set was tied at 3-3 and everything seemed ready for the climax, but the Israeli stepped up her game and clinched three consecutive games to advance to the next round.
Ram and Erlich go through
Israel's top doubles pair, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, also had a successful weekend on the clay courts of Roland Garros.
"Andy-Yoni", ranked seven in the world, crushed the Brazilian duo of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa 6-1, 6-2 in a second-round game. On Friday the Israelis beat French duo Sebastien Grosjean and Cyril Saulnier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the previous round.
Following the easy weekend win, the Israeli pair now faces a huge challenge in the next round, against Mahesh Bhupathi and Radek Stepanek, who are considered top contenders for the title. Bhupathi is a seasoned doubles player, with no less than four slams under his belt.
Ram and Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy (8) had no problems in their mixed doubles first round fixture against Cara Black and Jeff Coetzee on Friday, securing a 7-6 (8), 6-1 win.
Erlich and Russian compatriot Elina Vesnina lost 6-3, 2-6, 11-9 in their opener to the French pair of Aurelie Vedy and Florent Serra also on Friday.