Pe'er catapults to quarterfinals

Israeli tennis star advances after beating fourth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova; on Friday, Pe'er scored third-round victory over France's Golovin.

peer excited 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
peer excited 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er scored a major win on Sunday morning in the Australian Open in Melbourne, when she beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, ranked fourth in the world, by 4:6, 2:6. The victory catapulted Pe'er, 19, to the quarterfinals for the first time. She will next face off against the winner of the match between the US's Serena Williams and Serbia's Ylena Yankovich. Pe'er came back from the brink of defeat on Friday morning when she saved two match points in the 10th game of the third set on her way to a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 third round victory over Tatiana Golovin of France. The Israeli is currently ranked 17th in the world but would have climbed two more places regardless of the outcome of her fourth round match. "I have nothing to lose," she said Saturday of her upcoming encounter with Kuznetsova. "She's not ranked fourth in the world for nothing." On Friday, the Israeli struggled with her opponent's serve in the first set, but fought back to tie the match and completed the victory in the third set after winning 11 of the last 12 points. "I began the match poorly and Golovin played excellent. She has a fantastic forehand and serve," Pe'er said after the epic match, which lasted for two hours and 57 minutes. "I gave everything at 5-4 down in the third set. I pictured her smiling after the win and I wasn't prepared to allow that to happen." Ram and Erlich advance Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich equaled their career best performance at the Australian Open on Friday morning, defeating Brit James Auckland and Australian Stephen Huss 6-1, 1-6, 6-1, and reaching the third round of the tournament. The Israelis, who are seeded seventh, raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set and seemed to be on their way to an easy win after taking the set 6-1. The second set took an opposite course to the first, with Auckland and Huss breaking their opponents serve with ease and strolling to a 6-1 win. Ram and Erlich rebounded from their abysmal performance in the third set and regained their composure, eventually taking the decisive set 6-1. "We began the match well and had total control. Somehow we lost our concentration in the second set and they took advantage," Erlich said after the match. Ram will in action in the mixed doubles on Sunday when he teams up with Russian Vera Zvonareva in their first round match against Chris Guccione and Casey Dellacqua.