Pe’er advances to face Sharapova, Sela makes quick exit

The 24-year-old Israeli will be playing Sharapova for the sixth time in her career.

Shahar Pe'er 390 (R) (photo credit: REUTER/Regis Duvignau )
Shahar Pe'er 390 (R)
(photo credit: REUTER/Regis Duvignau )
Shahar Pe’er will face world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami after beating Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.
Pe’er, who dropped to No. 55 in the world earlier this week, her lowest ranking since September 2009, battled Cornet (114) for 25 minutes before taking a 2-1 lead in the first set. However, she maintained control after that and eventually secured her progress in one hour and 33 minutes.
The 24-year-old Israeli will be playing Sharapova for the sixth time in her career, with the in-form Russian beating Pe’er in all five of their previous meetings.
While a victory seems unlikely, Pe’er will at least be hoping to improve on her performance against Sharapova when they last met, with the Israeli taking only four games off the Russian in Rome last year.
Dudi Sela (61) was sent packing in the first round in Miami on Wednesday, losing 6-3, 6-3 to French qualifier Arnaud Clement (153) On Tuesday, Alisa Kleybanova made a triumphant return to the courts with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson after a ten month battle with cancer.
The Russian was in the top 20 and tipped to rise higher in the game before she was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkins lymphoma after the Italian Open last May.
After undergoing chemotherapy in Italy, the 22-yearold is now ready to restart her career as a wild card at the Sony Ericsson Open.
“I don’t want to think about rankings, I just want to be on the court and feel good. I just want to be myself,” she told reporters.
“I have a huge motivation to just live at 100 percent, every day of my life.”
Kleybanova, who has won twice on the WTA tour, said she had been suffering excessive fatigue and flulike symptoms for some time before medical tests produced the shocking news.
“Something was going on because I kept getting sick but then I always got over it and I was playing tournaments and feeling pretty good,” she said.
“In Rome, obviously, I got really, really sick and couldn’t get over it anymore. So we started to do all the controls and exams.
“I know there will be some stress and nerves ahead of matches but it’s not the most important thing in my life anymore,” she said.
“I’m just going to have fun out there and try to enjoy every day that I am on court.
“I am sure that will help me to get me back to my condition and hopefully even better again.”
Reuters contributed to this report.