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Peer Holds Off Lisicki, Petkovic Battles Back

Shahar Peer beat the in-form Sabine Lisicki in straight sets. Seeded players went 3-0 on Day 1.

Published August 15, 2011 12:00

Peer Holds Off Lisicki, Petkovic Battles Back
Shahar Peer

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - When No.24 beats No.22 it isn't usually much of a shock, but in this case it might just count as one. Shahar Peer rebounded from a disappointing first round loss in Toronto with an impressive first round win in Cincinnati, diffusing the power game of Sabine Lisicki in straight sets.

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Peer, who was as high as No.11 in the world in April - and one win away from becoming Israel's first Top 10 player - fell in the first round of five of her last six tournaments, including a stunning 61 60 first round loss to No.150-ranked Aleksandra Wozniak in Toronto last week. Lisicki, meanwhile, had won 17 of her last 20 matches. But their momenta flip-flopped in Cincy on Monday.

Playing aggressive yet consistent tennis, Peer stormed out to a 64 50 lead against Lisicki, and although the German won six games in a row from there - saving two match points along the way - Peer closed her out in the breaker.

"I was playing very solid and very smart until a set and 5-0, then I just stopped moving and was making errors from nowhere," Peer said. "I could have been in the locker room half an hour before, but at least I won the match in the end."

The reward for Peer's victory is a second round meeting with No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka, who received a first round bye. Azarenka has won all three of their previous meetings in straight sets. "It's not going to be easy. Victoria's a very aggressive player," Peer said. "I played well today, but I'll just try to do some things better and fight hard. I really want to keep this journey going."

The three seeds in action all won. No.9 seed Andrea Petkovic rallied from 75 20 down, as well as 4-1 down in the tie-break, for a 57 76(5) 62 victory over Jarmila Gajdosova; No.14 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova got by American qualifier Jill Craybas, 63 64; and at night, No.15 seed Ana Ivanovic needed less than an hour to beat another American qualifier, Alexa Glatch, 60 62.

"I was tired. I just felt so terrible the whole time. I don't know how I pulled it out, but I'm thrilled that I did," Petkovic said. "On days like today I feel I suck, really. I feel like I have so many more things to improve, like 156 or more, and as long as I have that feeling it gives me the motivation to practice and get even better."

Other winners on Day 1 of the Premier-level tournament were Daniela Hantuchova, Lucie Safarova, Sara Errani, Ekaterina Makarova, Alona Bondarenko, Petra Cetkovska, Zheng Jie, Petra Martic, Chanelle Scheepers, Anastasia Rodionova, Sofia Arvidsson and Christina McHale.

Zheng, a former Top 15 player who has really been showing some of her old form over the last few weeks - she reached the third round at both Carlsbad and Toronto - pulled off the biggest surprise of the day, winning a see-saw battle with Julia Goerges, 62 16 64. Zheng is currently ranked No.65, Goerges No.20.

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