Tennis: Pe’er falls, Sela breezes in Chennai

"She’s tough from both sides and her backhand is really a weapon," Petkovich says of Pe'er.

Shahar Pe'er, Brisbane_311 (photo credit: Toby Melville/Reuters)
Shahar Pe'er, Brisbane_311
(photo credit: Toby Melville/Reuters)
Shahar Pe’er’s first match of 2012 ended in disappointment on Monday, while Dudi Sela got the year off to an ideal start.
Pe’er, ranked No. 37, had her chances against world No. 10 Andrea Petkovic in the first round of the Brisbane International, serving for the first set twice before also holding an early break in the third, only to lose 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-3.
“It was really tough, but I expected a tough match,” Petkovic said. “I know Shahar very well. She’s tough from both sides and her backhand is really a weapon. I’m lucky I was able to get through this match today.”
Pe’er, who will remain in Brisbane for the time being to play in the doubles tournament with Vera Dushevina, will take part in the Hobart International next week in what will be her final warm-up event for the Australian Open, which gets underway on January 16.
Sela (83) cruised into the second round of the Chennai Open in India, crushing Italy’s Fabio Fognini (48) 6-0, 6-1 in a mere 59 minutes.
Sela held his serve with ease, saving the only break point he faced, while dominating Fognini’s service games, reaching 14 break points and converting six of them.
Next up for Sela is a meeting with France's Benoit Paire (89) for a place in the quarterfinals.
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich also got 2012 off to a winning start, advancing to the quarterfinals in Chennai by beating Indian duo Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile in Brisbane, Serena Williams admitted she is amazed at her own success given how much she dislikes the actual athletic nature of her profession.
“I have never liked sports and could never understand how I became an athlete,” the former world number one and arguably the most dominant women’s player over the past 10 years told reporters after she beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-2 6-3 in the first round on Monday.
“I don’t like working out and don’t like anything to do with working physically. If it involves sitting down or shopping, I’m excellent at that.
“That has always been my Achilles’ heel, the working out. But as long as the motivation’s there it’s definitely going to be cool.”
Reuters contributed to this report