Tennis: Pe'er survives first round scare in Eastbourne

Came back from a 4-0 third set deficit to defeat Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

peer hits 298.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
peer hits 298.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er advanced to the second round of the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, England on Tuesday, coming back from a 4-0 third set deficit to defeat Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. The Israeli, who is ranked 16th in the world, seemed to be on her way to a straightforward victory after wrapping up the first set within 33 minutes, but eventually needed another two hours to complete a hard fought win. "I had a lot of ups and downs during the match, but all-in-all I played well," Pe'er said after the match. "I played excellently in the first set, served well and felt comfortable on the grass court. I missed six break points in the third game of the second set and was broken immediately afterwards. I was broken early in the third set, but managed to compose myself and take one game at a time. "This is the first time I've won a match in a Wimbledon warm-up event and I hope to continue doing well on the grass courts." Pe'er, who is looking to advance past the second round of Wimbledon for the first time ever this year, will face Aiko Nakamura (85) in the second round in Eastbourne after the Japanese woman defeated Aravane Rezai (60) of France 61, 6-4 on Tuesday. "Nakamura is a very experienced player who likes to use flat shots which suit the grass courts," said Pe'er, who has a 3- 0 record against Nakamura. "It's going to be very difficult tomorrow [Wednesday] and we'll have to wait and see how things turn out." Pe'er recorded the first break of the match in the third game and held serve comfortably to clinch the first set in the eighth game. Likhovtseva (49) opened a 5-2 lead in the second set, but failed to serve out the set, allowing Pe'er to break and tie the score (5-5). However, a love break for the Russian in the 12th game of the set tied the match and shifted the momentum Likhovtseva's way. The Russian reeled off the first four games of the decisive set and seemed to be racing to a surprise first round win. Pe'er, however, took the next six games, breaking Likhovtseva three times on the trot on her way to the second round of the tournament. Also on Tuesday, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich cruised into the quarterfinals of the Nottingham Open, defeating Dominik Hrbaty and Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1. The Israelis, who are seeded first in the tournament, are looking to win a third straight title in Nottingham. Ram and Erlich will face Brazilian's Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa for a place in the last four.