Andy Ram got 2009 off on the right foot on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International doubles tournament with Max Mirnyi.
The Israeli/Belarusian duo, which is seeded first in the event, defeated Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-2, 11-9.
In Auckland, New Zealand, Shahar Pe'er and new doubles partner Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the last eight, beating Betina Jozami and Shikha Uberoi 6-2, 6-3.
Pe'er (39 in the world) faces Czech Strycova Zahlavova (74) in the second round of the singles tournament on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic doesn't think his first-round loss to Ernests Gulbis at the Brisbane singles tournament is any cause for panic ahead of his Australian Open title defense.
Struggling to find his rhythm with a new racket, top-seeded Djokovic was upset 6-4, 6-4 in his opening match of the season on Tuesday by the 20-year-old Latvian who finished last year at No. 53.
"I'm not panicking. I'm not seriously a big doubt. The Australian Open is my highest goal for this part of the year," Djokovic said. "It's not the end of the world. It's the first match, so I'm still trying not to be very pessimistic."
The setback gave him more time to prepare for the Australian Open which starts January 19 in Melbourne, added Djokovic, who later confirmed he'd accepted a wild-card entry for next week's Sydney International.
"Let's look on the bright side, it's only the start of the year and the biggest tournament is coming up," the 21-year-old Serbian said. "It was disappointing to lose in Brisbane but I now have another chance for more high quality matches in Sydney."
Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who lost to Djokovic in the last Australian Open final, beat Argentina's Agustin Calleri 6-2, 7-5 later Tuesday and is now favored to win the inaugural Brisbane title.
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