Israelis' singles hopes end early

The top Israeli players went 0-for-4 in the first round of the Australia Open; only doubles competition can save them.

Anna Smashnova, Shahar Pe'er and Harel Levy all lost their opening-round matches at the Australian Open on Tuesday. Together with Tzipi Obziler's first-round defeat on Monday, the top Israeli players went 0-for-4 in the first round, leaving only the doubles competitions in which they can register success. On that front, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich were seeded sixth in the men's doubles and will open against Argentina's Jaun Monaco and Albert Montanes of Spain. The draw is not an easy one, with accomplished doubles players Wayne Arthurs and Stephen Huss potential third-round opponents and the top-seeded Bryan brothers possible quarterfinal foes. Levy will also take part in the doubles event, teaming with South African Chris Haggard to meet Frenchmen Marc Gicquel and Gael Monfils in their first match. Both matches are scheduled for Wednesday. In Tuesday's action, Smashnova, the top-ranked Israeli at No. 40 in the world, lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Martina Sucha (96), despite winning more points than her opponent (90-87). Smashnova, who reached the third round last year, committed an uncharacteristic 39 unforced errors, including 12 double faults. Pe'er (41), making her debut in the senior event at Melbourne, fell 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to Shinobu Asagoe (39) of Japan. Pe'er also was her own worst enemy, committing 55 unforced errors. Levy (218), who already won three qualifying round matches just to reach the main draw, lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 to American Kevin Kim (99).