Tennis: Pe'er knocked out by Mirza in Indian Wells

Pe'er battles with former doubles partner throughout the two-and-a-half hour long encounter.

Shahar peer 298.88 (photo credit: )
Shahar peer 298.88
(photo credit: )
Shahar Pe'er dropped important ranking points late Sunday night after crashing out of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, losing 6-7 (7) 7-5, 6-3 to Sania Mirza in the third round of the prestigious $2,100,000 tournament. The Israeli, who reached the quarterfinals of the event last year, battled with her former doubles partner throughout the two-and-a-half hour long encounter, but paid the price for dropping her serve seven times and lost to Mirza for a third straight time. Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich advanced to the second round of the doubles tournament in a mere 53 minutes on Sunday, defeating Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela and Sebastian Prieto 6-1, 6-2. The Israeli duo, which is seeded fourth in the event, faces Paul-Henri Mathieu and Radek Stepanek in the second round. In the men's event, Andy Roddick lost his temper - and his third-round match while Roger Federer was as cool as usual. Roddick broke at least two rackets, hit a ball out of the crowded stadium and threw several small temper tantrums Sunday in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Tommy Haas. Later, the top-ranked Federer, weakened by mononucleosis and coming off consecutive losses in tour matches, began his bid for a fourth Indian Wells title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. "I'm happy the way it went today," said Federer, who lost to Guillermo Canas in the second round last year. "I could have taken more chances, I think, and could have won even more easily. But the way it went, I was very happy." Federer, No. 1 for a record 215 consecutive weeks, hasn't lost three matches in a row since the summer of 2002. Roddick's third-round loss, only his third loss in 18 matches this year, marked his earliest exit from the ATP Tour event and followed tournament titles at San Jose and Dubai and a quarterfinal effort at Memphis. "It's a lot easier sitting here after this loss today having put together the body of work I have over the last month," Roddick said. "It's probably easier to take and probably affects your confidence a lot less." That doesn't mean Roddick wasn't upset. The loss was his third in a row and seventh in 10 meetings with Haas, and when someone asked if there was something about the way Haas played that gave him a little trouble, Roddick snapped, "Apparently," and waited for the next question. "Today was one of the matches where I won the majority of the important points," said Haas, who closed out the win with a forehand that clipped the top of the net and fell onto Roddick's side of the court. "When I broke him, I really played some great points, backhand and forehand passing shots and forehand lobs, and that was really the only difference." The win evened Haas's record for the year at 4-4 as he tries to come back from another of his numerous medical setbacks, this one the third surgery on his right shoulder in November 2007. The German veteran was No. 2 in the world in May, 2002, and No. 12 at the close of the 2007 season, but came into the 10-day tournament at No. 36 after failing to get beyond the second round in four tournaments. Statistically the two were fairly even. Haas had 30 winners to Roddick's 26 and made 26 unforced errors to Roddick's 26. But Haas converted both his service break opportunities and Roddick failed on his two chances. There has been talk that Haas has had enough of injuries and rehabilitation and was considering retirement, and he indicated he had entertained the thought. But, he said, "when you play a match like today and everything is going pretty well and you're playing some of the tennis that you were taught and you know you can play against a great champion and competitor like Andy Roddick, you don't think about those things." Roddick was the biggest upset victim Sunday, when the wind that plagued the tournament the previous two days subsided greatly. But No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile was beaten by Croatia's Mario Ancic, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova improved top 16-0 in '08 with a ragged 7-5, 6-3 win over Eleni Daniilidou of Greece, the No. 26 seed. No. 7 David Nalbandian and No. 11 Andy Murray, and women's No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova all needed three sets to advance to the fourth round. Nalbandian overcame a 2-5 deficit in the third set to beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (4), Murray rallied to beat Jurgen Melzer of Austria, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, and Kuznetsova overcame No. 28 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. On Sunday night, defending women's champion Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Jie Zheng of China, and No. 21 seed Sania Mirza of India upset No. 9 Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3. Men's wild card Mardy Fish topped Igor Andreev of Russia, 6-4, 6-3. But the American contingent was trimmed when No. 4 seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat John Isner 6-2, 7-6 (3), and former champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia beat Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-3.