Israeli interest in the singles draw at the first Grand Slam of the year came to an abrupt end yesterday, with Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi and Tzipi Obziler both tumbling out of the competition.
Smashnova-Pistolesi, Israel's most senior player, fell victim to 16-year-old wild-card entry Tatiana Golovin of France. Seeded 14th, Smashnova-Pistolesi was upset by the Russian-born teen - who will celebrate her 16th birthday Sunday and is also in the junior tournament - 6-2, 6-3 in the second round. Golovin is ranked No. 354 and had only one win on the WTA Tour before this tournament.
"I don't know if it's hit me yet, that I beat a top-20 player. I'm sure it'll sink in when I get home," said Golovin. "I haven't even looked at the draw, I don't know who I'm playing [next]." Her third-round opponent is Russian Krasnoroutskaya, who finished last season ranked No. 7.
Obziler, who earlier in the week won her first-ever match at a Grand Slam, picked up just three games in her second-round defeat to Nathalie Dechy of France. At 31, Obziler may have been the oldest player to record a maiden victory in a Grand Slam, after beating Slovakia's Martina Sucha in the first round.
In the men's doubles draw, Harel Levy and his Russian partner Mikhail Youzhny were unceremoniously duped out by the French pairing of Julien Benneteau and Arnaud Clement, despite taking the first set on a tiebreak. They went on to lose the next set 6-4, however, and were crushed 6-1 in just 23 minutes in the final set.
The all-Israeli partnership of Yoni Erlich and Andy Ram were due to play Gaston Gaudio (Argentina) and Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) in the early hours of this morning.
Also due on court early today were Andy Ram and his Hungarian partner in the mixed doubles, Petra Madula, who face 5th seeds Kevin Ullyett (Zimbabwe) and Lisa Raymond (U.S.). In the same competition, Erlich and South Africa's Liezel Huber play against local talents Jordan Kerr and Nicole Pratt.
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