Tennis: On-form Pe’er dispatches Mattek-Sands

Israeli star breezes into third round at Indian Wells; Ram/Llodra advance in doubles.

Shahar Peer at Australian Open (photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Shahar Peer at Australian Open
(photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Despite taking nearly a full month off to recharge her batteries, Shahar Pe’er showed little signs of rust on Saturday on her way to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over American wild-card Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round of the prestigious Indian Wells tournament in California.
Pe’er, who climbed to number 20 in the world after reaching the semifinals in Dubai last month, will be hoping to continue her superb year when she faces world No. 12 Flavia Pennetta in the third round.
The Italian was a 6-3, 6-3 victor against Czech Petra Kvitova and has won all three of her previous meetings with Pe’er.
In the men’s tournament in Indian Wells, Dudi Sela (72) faced No. 14 seed Radek Stepanek in the second round late Sunday night.
In the doubles tournament, Andy Ram and Michael Llodra advanced to the second round with a 5-7, 6-3,10-7 victory over Radek Stepanek and Martin Damm.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Germany’s Rainer Schuettler on Saturday.
Third-seeded Nadal set up a third round meeting with Croatia’s Mario Ancic, who struggled past France’s Julien Benneteau 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Novak Djokovic, seeded second, had a topsy-turvy 6-1, 0-6, 6-2 over Mardy Fish in a reprise of the 2008 final. The Serb’s opponent in the third round will be Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Russian Nikolay Davydenko, seeded fifth, also progressed with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis and will next take on a well-rested Viktor Troicki, who was sent into the third round after his Uruguayan opponent Pablo Cuevas retired after losing the opening game.
Spain’s tenth-seeded Fernando Verdasco was another to win through, defeating Paraguay’s Ramon Delgado 6-4, 6-1. Verdasco’s third-round opponent will be Czech No.19 Tomas Berdych.
Marin Cilic was the main casualty of the day. The Croatian No.8 seed, who reached the Australian Open semifinals, was crushed in the second set as Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez won 7-6 (1), 6-0.
In the women’s draw, the main news was the elimination of No.1-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian was no match for Carla Suarez Navarro in the final set, with the Spaniard winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
“The tennis ball is perfect. I am not perfect,” Kuznetsova said.
Kuznetsova, who hadn’t played in a month and had a first-round bye, made 69 unforced errors and double-faulted seven times.
“It’s frustrating because I know I have the game,” said Kuznetsova. “I feel great. I do practice, play unbelievable and then I get to the match and I don’t do much.” Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was a 6-1, 7-5 winner of Austria’s Sybille Bammer, setting up a meeting with No. 28 Maria Martinez Sanchez.
Jelena Jankovic, No. 6, was another winner, seeing off Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-3, 7-6 (2), progressing to a clash with Italian Sara Errani.
However, another former world’s No.1 Ana Ivanovic was a shock loser, thrashed 6-2, 6-4 by Anastasija Sevastova.
Two-timechampion Kim Clijsters of Belgium won her second-round match, beatingBarbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1.
Reigning champion Vera Zvonareva of Russia survived a challenge from 16-year-old American Sloane Stephens, winning 6-4, 7-5.