Tennis: Pe'er, Sela both victorious in 2009 debuts

Elsewhere, in Israeli derby match in the Sao Paulo Challenger tournament qualifiers, Harel Levy defeats Noam Okun 7-6, 7-6.

DUDI SELA CROUCHING 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
(photo credit: AP [file])
Shahar Pe'er and Dudi Sela got 2009 off to a winning start on Monday. Pe'er, who is ranked 39th in the world, defeated Petra Cetkovska (81) 7-6 (4), 6-2 in her first match of the year to advance to the second round of the ASB Classic women's tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. The fifth seeded Pe'er saved six of eight break points and in the second round will face another Czech opponent, Strycova Zahlavova (74). Sela (107 in the world) battled with Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (119) for almost two-and-a-half hours before claiming a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory in the first round of the Chennai Open in India. The turning point of the match came in the 10th game of the second set, when Israel's number one saved four match points. Next up for Sela is the winner of the match between seventh seed Janko Tipsarevic and Pablo Andujar. Elsewhere, in an Israeli derby match in the qualifiers of the Sao Paulo Challenger tournament, Harel Levy defeated Noam Okun 7-6, 7-6. Also in Auckland, former world No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova began her comeback from an injury-affected 2008 with a first-round win. Vaidisova, the sixth seed on her current ranking of 41, took 2 hours, 27 minutes to beat Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-5. AP contributed to this report