Tennis: Israel beats Austria to reach Fed Cup World Group

Pe'er defeats Yvonne Meusburger, 6-3, 6-1 to give women's team an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Shahar peer 298.88 (photo credit: )
Shahar peer 298.88
(photo credit: )
Israel's Fed Cup team qualified for the prestigious World Group Sunday after Shahar Pe'er beat Yvonne Meusburger, 6-3, 6-1 in the playoff match between Austria and Israel at the Asko Tenniszentrum in Linz. The victory gave the Israel women's team an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie and grouped it among the top eight tennis teams in the world. On Saturday, Pe'er, who is ranked No. 18 in the world, and Tzipi Obziler (75) gave Israel a 2-0 lead, defeating their Austrian opponents in straight sets. Pe'er, beat 16-year-old Tamira Paszek (35) 6-4, 6-4, in the first match of the day, winning her 12th consecutive Fed Cup match. Obziler made the most of the Austrian No. 1 Sybille Bammer's (24) withdrawal and thrashed replacement Meusburger (83) 6-3, 6-1. Obziler is scheduled to play Sunday's second singles match against Paszek, with the tie being concluded with a doubles match. Paszek got the first break of the match against Pe'er on Saturday, opening a 2-1 lead. The Israeli, however, broke back in the sixth game, tying the score at 3-3. Two more games for Pe'er gave her a stranglehold on the set, but she failed to serve it out in the following game, allowing the Austrian to close within one game. Another break in the tenth game, however, clinched the set for the Israeli, who went on to dominate the proceedings. Pe'er reeled off three straight games in the second set and opened a lead she wouldn't relinquish. A second break of serve in the sixth game gave the Israeli an unassailable 5-1 advantage and despite Paszek's late surge, Pe'er eventually wrapped up the victory with another break in the 10th game. "I knew Paszek would be a tough opponent and made sure not to underestimate her," Pe'er said. "I made a few mistakes when leading 5-1 in the second set, but I'm happy that I regained my composure at 5-4 and made the right moves to clinch the win." After splitting the first six games of her match against Meusburger, Obziler took the next seven games to win the first set and open a promising lead in the second set. The Austrian got on the board in the second set by winning the fifth game, but it was too little to late for Meusburger, as Obziler claimed the next two games to take the match.