Peer and Sela serve up a treat

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

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

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