Tennis: Pe'er advances in Stanford, Sela beaten by Blake

Shahar gets the North American hard court season off to a winning start.

peer 88 (photo credit: )
peer 88
(photo credit: )
Shahar Pe'er got the North American hard court season off to a winning start on Tuesday in California, defeating Melinda Czink of Hungary 7-5, 6-0 in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. Pe'er, who is ranked No. 25 in the world, trailed 1-4 in the first set against Czink (126), but won 12 of the next 13 games to set up a second round meeting with world No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze, which ended after press time on Wednesday night. The Russian has beaten Pe'er in three of their four previous meetings, with the Israeli's only victory coming at Indian Wells last year. Tuesday wasn't as good of a day for Dudi Sela (78 in the world), who lost 6-7 (2), 2-6 to top-seeded American James Blake in the first round of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. Blake, ranked eighth in the world, looked rusty before he rallied to beat Sela, who led 2-0 in the opening set and had a 30-love lead in the next game. Blake took a 5-3 lead and had advantage twice with a chance to close the set, but couldn't finish. Sela won the game, then took the next two to take a 6-5 lead. Blake tied it 6-all, then took the tiebreaker 7-2 to win the set. "There were still some testy moments out there, especially playing a tiebreaker after you serve for a set," Blake said. "That can demoralize a lot of players sometimes." Sela had three aces in the first game and kept Blake off balance, but he couldn't keep it going in the second set. He kept fewer than half his first serves in play in the second set and had no aces. "When I'm able to attack that second serve, I think that's one of the stronger parts of my game," Blake said. "If I can put a little pressure on that, it can affect the first serve." AP contributed to this report