Shahar knocked out Down Under

Pennetta comes back to oust Pe’er in 3rd round.

Peer Pennetta 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Peer Pennetta 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Despite serving for the match in the second set, Shahar Pe’er failed to advance past the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth straight year on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Israeli, ranked number 12 in the world and seeded 10th in Melbourne, served for a place in the last 16 in the 12th game of the second set against Flavia Pennetta (25), only to drop her serve and the subsequent tiebreak before falling in a tight decider, losing 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 after two hours and 25 minutes.
Pe’er got off to a flying start, and after wrapping up the first set in impressive fashion, opened a 4-2 lead in the second set, taking four games on the trot. However, the Israeli couldn’t hold on to her advantage, with the Italian winning the next three games.
Pe’er broke once more in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead, but couldn’t close out the match on her serve and Pennetta controlled the breaker to tie the score.
After splitting the first six games of the third set, Pennetta won eight consecutive points to open a twogame lead she would quickly convert into a victory, ending Pe’er’s dreams of Grand Slam success Down Under.
Pe’er will look for consolation in the doubles tournament after advancing to the third round with Shuai Peng on Friday, defeating Kimiko Date-Krumm and Shuai Zhang 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The Israeli-Chinese duo, seeded 14th, faced No. 2 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the last 16 early Sunday morning.
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich were knocked out in the second round of the men’s doubles event on Friday, losing 7-6 (7), 6-7 (3), 6-2 to Australians Carsten Bell and Chris Guccione.
Ram is still involved in the mixed doubles tournament, progressing to the second round with Meghann Shaughnessy on Saturday, beating Vania King and Marcelo Melo 6-1, 7-5.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal overcame the much-hyped potential star of Australian tennis in his quest for a fourth consecutive major title.
The top-ranked Nadal secured a 6- 2, 7-5, 6-3 win over 18-year-old wildcard Bernard Tomic at the Australian Open on Saturday. Nadal advanced to a fourth-round match against Marin Cilic.
French Open finalist Sam Stosur lost 7-6 (5), 6-3 to No. 25 Petra Kvitova, ending Australia’s hopes in the women’s draw.
In other results, No. 4 Robin Soderling advanced along with Marin Cilic, who beat American John Isner 4-6, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 9-7 in 4 hours, 33 minutes.
It was the first five-set match Isner had played since his epic encounter against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon, which finished 70-68 for the longest tennis match in history.
Isner’s departure left Andy Roddick as the only American in the men’s or women’s draws.
US Open champion Kim Clijsters defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (3), 6-3 of France to move a step closer to claiming her second Grand Slam in a row.
Also Saturday, Andy Murray cruised past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.
Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva is aiming for a third consecutive Grand Slam final, advancing with a 6-3, 7-6 (9) win over Lucie Safarova.
Zvonareva, who lost the US Open final to Clijsters, served for the match twice against Safarova but was extended to the tiebreaker. Safarova led 4-2 and 5-3 in the tiebreaker before Zvonareva finally clinched it on her fourth match point.
Zvonareva has a chance to move into the No. 1 ranking if she wins the title. Her next priority is getting past a fourth-round match against Iveta Benesova, who beat No. 16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.
No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 and will play China’s Peng, who had a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Japan’s Ayumi Morita.
Peng, who saved seven break points in the seventh game of the deciding set, reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Two former finalists also went out.
Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 runnerup, retired from his third-round match because of a finger injury when he was trailing No. 11 Jurgen Melzer 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1, 4-3.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 finalist, lost 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 to Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Milos Raonic, a 20-year-old Canadian qualifier with the fastest serve in the first two rounds of the tournament at 143 mph, beat No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
He’ll play No. 7 David Ferrer, a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 winner over Richard Berankis.
A strange incident occurred on Friday when Maria Sharapova noticed a dead spot on the court while warming- up for her third-round match against Julia Goerges. She informed the umpire, the warm-up was halted, tournament officials rushed in and the driller arrived.
Tournament referee Wayne McEwan said moisture from recent rain had gathered under the court’s Plexicushion layer but had evaporated as temperatures rose in recent days and caused a pocket of vapor that lifted part of the surface.