Peer and Sela serve up a treat
AS SHAHAR PEER quietly went about her business en route to the third round of the Australian Open, fellow Israeli Dudi Sela (202) was grabbing the headlines back home with a careerbest victory over Thailand’s Paradorn Srichapan (56).
The 21-year- old from Kiryat Shmona recorded a straight sets win over the Thai player ranked 146 places above him, before bowing out in the second round after a five-set marathon against Russian Marat Safin (27) in a rain-interrupted contest.
Sela’s progress has been plagued by injury over the past 18 months, but he came of age in Melbourne, overcoming three higher ranked players in the qualifying rounds, and is expected to improve on his highest ranking of 158 achieved in 2005.
“I feel this is going to be my year,” commented Sela. “My victories have filled me with confidence. The way things are going I am confident of making the world’s top 100 this year. I am going to give it everything I have got and if it doesn’t work out I will retire.”
In the women’s event, Peer, who has risen to a career high 17 in the world, dropped just seven games in sweeping aside Romina Oprandi of Italy and Meilen Tu of the US.
The 16th seed was scheduled to face Tatiana Golovin (20) of France, first round conqueror of compatriot Anna Smashnova, who was also eliminated in the first round of the doubles with Estonian partner Kaia Kanepi.
Tzipi Obziler (121), who was playing at a grand slam after qualifying automatically for the first time in her career, failed to upset Russian Zvonareva, who triumphed in straight sets.
American Zack Fleischman (170) suffered a four-set round two defeat against home favourite Wayne Arthurs, while countryman Paul Goldstein tumbled at the first hurdle, losing to Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen (17).
Chile’s Nicolas Massu (43) won just two games in the loss against Serbian opponent Novak Djokovic (14).
In the men’s doubles, the US pairing of Goldstein and Jim Thomas lost in three sets to Andy Murray’s first round opponent Alberto Martin and his partner Potito Starace.
Dudi Sela marked his comeback from injury with an impressive first-round victory before bowing out against Marat Safin