Tennis: Gutsy Pe'er outclassed by Kuznetsova

Pe'er was defeated 4-6, 3-6 in the fourth round of the French Open.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
World number three Svetlana Kuznetsova gained sweet revenge over Shahar Pe'er on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Israeli 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the French Open. Pe'er (17) beat the Russian in both their previous meetings in 2007, 6-4, 6-2 in the fourth round of the Australian Open and 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the last 16 in Miami. But on Sunday it was third time lucky for Kuznetsova. The Russian was quite simply superior to Pe'er throughout the 80 minute match, with the 20-year-old Israeli never leading or even threatening to do so during the entire encounter. "It's very disappointing to lose," said Pe'er, who, despite losing the match, made just 16 unforced errors to Kuznetsova's 32. "Nevertheless, reaching the fourth round is a good achievement. "I wish I could reach the fourth round of every tournament I play. As expected, it was a very difficult match and I didn't play well. I couldn't dictate my style of play and didn't take advantage of my opportunities." This was the second straight year Pe'er has lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros, with former world number one Martina Hingis getting the better of the Israeli in 2006. After neither player managed to create a break point during the first five games of the match, Kuznetsova opened a 4-2 lead with a break of serve in the sixth game. Pe'er broke back to love immediately and tied the set (4-4) after coming back from 40-0 in the eighth game. The Russian held to love in the following game and wrapped up the set with a break of serve in the 10th game. Eight straight points for Kuznetsova at the start of the second set gave her a lead she wouldn't relinquish and the match was quickly slipping away from Pe'er. The Israeli squandered break points in the fifth game of the second set, allowing the Russian to open an unassailable 5-0 lead. Pe'er reeled off three straight games to make the second set score-line slightly more respectable, but the defeat was inevitable, with Kuznetsova completing the win on her first match point in the ninth game. "Kuznetsova killed me with her backhand," Pe'er said. "I tried to move her around the court as much as possible and hit the ball deep, but she kept hitting winners and I couldn't keep up with her." Also on Sunday, Pe'er and Dinara Safina, who are seeded 11th in the womens doubles tournament, advanced to the third round after defeating Na Li and Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2. The Israeli/Russian duo will face number seven seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama in the third round of the tournament. Pe'er and Safina opened a quick 2-0 lead, but Li and Jankovic tied the score with two games of their own. However, four of the next five games were won by the Israeli/Russian team and the duo wrapped up the set with a tough service hold in the ninth game. After breaking in the first game of the second set, Pe'er and Safina ran away with the match and completed the victory after one hour and 38 minutes. In the mixed doubles, Andy Ram and Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 victory over Janette Husarova and Pavel Vizner. The Israeli/French duo, which is seeded eighth in the tournament, faces number two seeds Liezel Huber and Kevin Ullyett in the last eight. Also on Sunday, 17-year-old Julia Glushko, who is seeded 15th in the girls tournament, advanced to the second round, defeating Nathalie Mohn of France 6-3, 7-6 (8). On Monday, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will face Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and Czech Radek Stepanek in the last 16 of the doubles tournament.