Both of Israel’s national tennis champions notched up impressive victories in the first round of the Australian Open tennis tournament Tuesday. Amir Weintraub defeated Argentina’s Guido Pella in straight sets, while Shahar Peer needed three sets to beat Alexandra Panova of Russia.
This was Weintraub’s first appearance in a Grand Slam tournament, but he showed no signs of nerves as he beat Pella, ranked 97 in the world, in three straight sets.
Weintraub, who is ranked 196 in the world, took the first set 7-6 with a 7-2 tie break and won the second set 7-5 before running away with the third set 6-2.
Weintraub, who will meet Philipp Kohschreiber of Germany, ranked 17 in the world, in the second round, has already guaranteed himself $45,000 in prize money.
Peer, who has slipped to 74 in the world rankings from a career-high 11th, opened strongly, winning her first set 6-4. But she lost concentration in the second set, which she lost 1-6.
But the Israeli champion recovered her composure to put away her opponent, currently ranked 75 on the ATP computer, 6-3 in the third set.
In the second round Peer will meet 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan (ranked 100), who upset the world’s fifth-ranked player, Nadia Petrova of Russia, in surprisingly easy style 6-2, 6-0 in the first round.
Dudi Sela (113), however, came unstuck against the experienced Russian Nikolay Davydenko, ranked 40 in the world. Sela started strongly and won the first set 6-3, but the Russian came back to win the next three sets 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 in 2 hours and 42 minutes.