Pe’er plummeting down the rankings

Shahar Pe’er expected to drop out of world’s top-30 for first time since 2009 after losing in first round of tournament for seventh time this year.

Shahar Pe’er (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe’er
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Shahar Pe’er is expected to drop out of the world’s top-30 for the first time since 2009 after being knocked out in the first round of a tournament for the seventh time this year on Sunday, losing 6-1, 7-5 to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the China Open in Beijing.
The 24-year-old Israeli, who has now failed to make it past a second round of a tournament in 10 of her past 12 events, could drop almost 10 places from her current ranking at No. 26 after failing to come anywhere close to matching her march to the semifinals of the lucrative $4,500,000 China Open last year.
Pe’er will be hoping to end a disappointing 2011 on a high when she plays her final two tournaments in Linz, Austria, and Luxembourg in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Dudi Sela advanced to the main draw of the Japan Open in Tokyo on Sunday, beating Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the qualifiers. Sela, who defeated countryman Amir Weintraub in the first round of qualifying, will next face Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito.
In other action, world No. 4 Andy Murray lost just two games as he breezed past American Donald Young in 48 minutes on Sunday to win the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
The top seed won 6-2, 6-0 against the 55th ranked Young who was outclassed in his first Tour final.
Murray converted all five break points against his unseeded opponent to claim his third title of the year.
The 24-year-old Scot raced into a 4-0 in the opening set before Young managed to hold on to a couple of service games to get on to the scoreboard.
It was one-way traffic in the second set as Murray conceded just three points against the 22-year-old Amercian who had caused an upset in the semifinals against second seed Gael Monfils of France.
Also Sunday, Li Na suffered a nightmare first round defeat at the China Open as she went down 6-4, 6-0 to 58th ranked Romanian Monica Niculescu on an expectant center court.
The world No. 5, making her first appearance in China since winning the French Open this year, dropped serve repeatedly as her slump in form continued.
Qualifier Niculescu romped away with the match after taking the first set, leaving Li, and the fans at the newly-opened National Tennis Centre, stunned.
“I have just lost all confidence,” a visibly shaken Li told reporters.
“On the court, I don’t know what I can do. It was tough even winning one point.”
Since winning the French Open to become the first player from an Asian country to win a Grand Slam singles title, Li has managed just five victories and suffered a second-round defeat at Wimbledon and a first-round exit at the US Open.
She said she would now seek rest “not only for the body, but also for the mind”.
“Hopefully I can stand up again and prepare for next year,” she added.

Reuters contributed to this report.