Tennis: Pe'er beaten by doubles partner Mirza

Israeli star succumbs to lower ranked play in an early round of a WTA event for a second straight week.

peer tough 88 (photo credit: )
peer tough 88
(photo credit: )
Shahar Pe'er succumbed to a lower ranked player in an early round of a WTA event for a second straight week late Tuesday night. The 20-year-old Israeli lost in the first round of the Acura Classic at San Diego 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to good friend and doubles partner Sania Mirza. Pe'er, who is ranked 18th in the world and was seeded 12th at San Diego, was broken nine times by the Indian and allowed Mirza (31) to dictate the play with her powerful forehand throughout the two hour and three minute long encounter. "It wasn't easy to play Mirza because we're friends," said Pe'er, who lost to Olga Govortsova (100) in the second round at Stanford last week. "We may play doubles together, but in the singles matches we both want to win." A single win in her first two US Open warm-up events leaves Pe'er well short of match practice ahead of the year's final Grand Slam tournament, which gets underway on August 27. The Israeli is scheduled to play in two more hardcourt events in the next two weeks in Los Angeles and Toronto respectively, and will desperately be seeking a good performance to boost her confidence ahead of her first round match at Flushing Meadows, New York. Mirza, a finalist at Stanford on Sunday, beat her doubles partner by going to the net more often than usual in the final set, trying to shorten rallies. The strategy paid off for Mirza, who said she was tired from playing all week at the Bank of the West Classic. "I really didn't want to spend so much time on the court," said Mirza, who lost in straights sets at Stanford to Anna Chakvetadze. "We all know that Pe'er is one of the best on the tour at running down shots. If I keep hitting and ripping from behind the baseline, she's going to keep tracking down balls." Pe'er held her serve just once in the first set and despite breaking twice allowed Mirza to claim the set. Three consecutive games for the Israeli at 3-4 in the second set tied the score and raised the hope that the momentum may have shifted in Pe'er's direction. Mirza, however, took four of the last five games of the match and booked her place in the second round. "I'm happy because it was a very tough first-round match," Mirza said. "But we both are not happy because we are friends, and it's hard to play a friend."