Shahar Pe'er will need to overcome world number 4 Caroline Wozniackiin the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday if she is toadvance to the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament for the first timesince Wimbledon in 2008.
The 22-year-old Israeli, who is seeded No. 29 in Melbourne,continued her dream start to the year on Thursday, defeating TsvetanaPironkova (111) 6-1, 6-4 in 82 minutes.
Pe'er, who reached the semifinals in Auckland, New Zealand, inher first tournament of the season before losing in the final in Hobartlast Saturday, dropped her serve in the opening game of Thursday'smatch, but reeled off the next six to take the first set and broke inthe ninth game of the second set before serving out the match.
"I'm very happy," Pe'er said. "I've been playing a lot of matches this year and I've been playing well."
US Open finalist Wozniacki claimed an easy 6-3, 6-1 win overGerman Julia Goerges on Thursday and has beaten Pe'er in both of theirprevious meetings, including in the first round of the Aussie Open lastyear.
"She's a good player," said Pe'er, who has lost six straight matches against top 10 opponents.
"It's going to be a tough match. She's No. 4 in world and had agreat year last year. But I'll come and play my best tennis. I'm comingin to the match to win it."
Wozniacki is also expecting a difficult encounter on Saturday.
"Pe'er's getting a lot of balls back, and she's a fighter, shenever gives up," she said. "I know she has a lot of supporters out hereso I just need to keep my focus and try to be the one who's dictating."
Pe'er also played doubles on Thursday, progressing to the second round with Galina Voskoboeva.
The Israeli/Kazakh duo defeated Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova and Czech Renata Voracova 6-2, 7-5.
Andy Ram suffered a disappointing first round exit in the men's doubles tournament on Thursday.
Ram and Michael Llodra, seeded No. 13, lost 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 toFrance's Julien Benneteau and Belgium's Steve Darcis Dudi Sela, who wasknocked out in the first round of the singles tournament on Tuesday,won his first-round doubles match with Russia's Igor Kunitsyn, beatingMarco Chiudinelli and Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2.