Pe’er handed tricky draw in Australia

Tennis star Shahar Pe’er faces difficult path to Australian Open glory, drawing a potential 2nd round match up with world No. 15 Sabine Lisicki.

Shahar Pe'er 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe'er 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe’er faces an uphill battle to reach the third round of the Australian Open for a third straight year following Friday’s draw for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2012.
The Israeli, ranked No. 37 in the world, was lucky enough to be drawn against Australian Isabella Holland (182) in the first round, but should she progress she will likely next face world No. 15 Sabine Lisicki, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year.
Pe’er will at least be arriving in Melbourne boosted by her performance at the Hobart International, despite falling to a 7-6 (1), 6-3 defeat to Yanina Wickmayer (29) in the semifinals on Friday.
Pe’er saved two set points in the ninth game (5- 3) and another one three games later (6-5) to force a tiebreak, but there was no way back after Wickmayer won the first five points of the breaker.
The Belgian carried the momentum into the second set, racing out to a 5-1 lead, and despite winning the next two games, Pe’er dropped her serve once more in the ninth game to lose the match.
“Obviously I wanted to try to win the tournament, but I did my best,” said Pe’er, who is now 2-4 all-time against Wickmayer. “It’s a good start of the year for me, and hopefully I’ll play better and better.”
Dudi Sela (73), who will also be entering the Aussie Open on the back of a confidence-boosting result after reaching his first ATP Tour quarterfinal in more than a year-and-a-half in the Chennai Open, was drawn to play Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci (38) for a second straight time in an opening round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Sela came back from two sets down for the first time in his career to get the better of Bellucci in the first round of the US Open last year and also beat the Brazilian when they played in the ATP Tour Challenger Finals in November.
Julia Glushko’s (209) hopes of being Israel’s third representative in the singles tournaments in Melbourne ended on Friday with a 7-5, 6-2 loss to Andrea Hlavackova (116) in the second round of qualifying.