ISRAELI top-gun Shahar Peer advanced to the second round of the 2012 Australian Open on Tuesday with a convincing 6-2, 6-0 victory over Australian wildcard Isabella Holland, while Dudi Sela went down 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Brazilian Tomaz Bellucci.
American ace Mardy Fish continued his good form after making the final of the AAMI Kooyong Classic at the weekend, and had a straight-sets victory over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller on Monday, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Peer barely raised a sweat in beating the young Aussie, and has now set up an enthralling second-round match against German 15th seed Sabine Lisicki.
“The conditions weren’t easy, but I’m happy I won 6-2, 6-0 and was out of the heat pretty fast,” Peer, ranked 34 in the world, told The AJN.
“It’s going to be a tough match [against Lisicki], but I’m playing well and hopefully I will do well.”
She took the first four games of the match, and ended up winning the first set less than 10 minutes later, dropping just two games.
The second set was all Peer’s. She dominated from start to finish in front of a strong, supportive Israeli crowd.
“It’s nice to be here with all the Israelis and hopefully I get more and more every round,” Peer said.
Peer was set to team with Russian Vera Dushevina in the women’s doubles, taking on Swedish pair Sofia Arvidsson and Johanna Larsson as The AJN went to print.
Sela, who has a knack for drawing tough first-round opponents, after last year matching up against former world number four Juan Martin Del Potro, couldn’t go any further this year bowing out to the 37th ranked Bellucci.
“I got a little bit tired, he was also tired … but he played much better,” Sela said.
While it seemed he was in the game the whole time, his missed shots cost him in the straight sets loss.
Fish made easy work of Muller in just over two hours on his way to a second-round match against Colombian Alejandro Falla on Wednesday.
“I liked my chances in those kind of [hot and windy] conditions,” the world number eight said.
Now in the top 10 for the first time in his career, Fish conceded the weight of expectation had increased.
“There is more pressure for sure, but I feel fairly comfortable with the things that I’m doing,” he said.
American wildcard Jesse Levine proved to be the surprise packet from day two at the grand slam, coming back from two sets down in his match against 26th seed Marcel Granollers, to lose narrowly in the fifth.
Israel’s chance of another grand slam win took a hit before a ball was tossed, with the pairing of Yoni Erlich and Andy Ram drawing top-seeded pair, American champions Bob and Mike Bryan, who they will play today (Thursday).
US player Scott Lipsky is the other Jewish star in action in the doubles, set to pair up with countryman Rajeev Ram against Spain’s Albert Montanes and Albert Ramos on Wednesday.
Up-and-coming stars Julia Glushko and Amir Weintraub tried their luck at the qualifying event last week, but both failed to make the main draw.
ASHLEY SHENKER AT MELBOURNE PARK