Hopes spurred by Shahar Peer's recent strong performances and a clay court, combined with a lingering injury nagging her opponent, crashed into reality yesterday as world No. 1 Serena Williams easily disposed of the Israeli 6-2, 6-2.
Williams used her power during the few moments she needed it to overwhelm the upstart Peer, ranked 18th, to advance to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
Williams is now undefeated in five matches with Peer. Yesterday's match took just 67 minutes. The American's complete dominance could be seen in her 75 percent success rate on first serves compared to Peer's 44 percent. Williams also served up six aces, while Peer had none.
A few commentators during the match suggested that Peer is still struggling with opponents at Serena Williams' level, even when the better player is not 100 percent. Peer opened the match with a break and was up 40-0 in the second game, but Williams came back to break her and even the set at 1-1. Peer also lost her final two serves of the first set.
Still, Peer can take comfort that she will likely move up in next week's rankings to either 13th or 14th, depending on how the remaining players do, which would be her highest ranking ever. Her previous best was No. 15 in January 2007.
On the bright side, Peer and her Romanian partner Monica Niculescu continued their successful run in the doubles tournament, disposing of another seeded pair. Yesterday, they defeated the tenth-seeded team of Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan and her Chinese partner Zheng Zie. Their next challenge in the quarterfinals will be the second-seeded duo of Spanish compatriots Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
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