Tennis: Pe'er comes back for 1st round win in Australia

Shahar Pe'er got her new season off to a winning start with a characteristic comeback win on Sunday morning. The 20-year-old, who is ranked 17th in the world, defeated American Julie Ditty (101) 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 in the first round of the $175,000 tournament at Gold Coast, Australia. "Julie was playing well and she's not even in the top 100," Peer said after the match. "I had a lot of trouble with her. Every match I have to play well." Pe'er dropped her first three service games on Sunday and lost the first set after Ditty held her serve in the ninth game. The Israeli, however, would soon take a stranglehold on the match. A seven game run clinched the second set and Pe'er would go on to book her place in the second round after winning 12 of 14 games. Pe'er, who is seeded fifth in the tournament, will next face the winner of the first round match between Lourdes Dominguez Lino (71) and Julia Schruff (119). Dudi Sela's (64) hopes of a good run at the Adelaide tournament ($465,000) suffered a blow even before he got to play a single point. The 22-year-old was drawn to face No. 1 seed Lleyton Hewitt (21) in his first round match, which will be played on Tuesday. Hewitt's career has come nearly full circle as he prepares to play in his hometown tournament for the last time. Hewitt won the Australian men's hardcourt title in Adelaide 10 years ago as a 16-year-old wild card for his first professional tournament win. Since then, he has won two Grand Slams - the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002 - and held the No. 1 ranking for 75 consecutive weeks from November 19, 2001. Now ranked No. 21 and attempting to work his way back into the top 10, the top-seeded Hewitt will play at Memorial Drive beginning Monday for the final time. The Australian men's hardcourt tournament will head north to Brisbane, Queensland state, next year. "It doesn't feel that long ago," Hewitt said Sunday of his win in 1998. "It would be great to win again here, it would be a good start. I have got to look toward mid-January and the Australian Open but obviously this would be a fantastic way to kick off January and the start of 2008. "There is going to be a lot of tough matches throughout the week. Maybe you don't have anyone in the top 20 at the moment but you look at the guys throughout... I don't think it's going to be easy for anyone." AP contributed to this report