Peer Holds Off Lisicki, Petkovic Battles Back
Published August 15, 2011 12:00
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.
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.