Photo: Eli Elgarat
Tzipi Obziler
Photo: Eli Elgarat
Dinara Safina across from Peer
Photo: Eli Elgarat

Israel, Russia finish Fed Cup matches with 1-1 tie

Shahar Peer gets off to shaky start against Russia's Dinara Safina but finds her game by second set while Australian Open champion Sharapova defeats Israel's Obziler

Israel's Shahar Peer beat Dinara Safina 0-6 6-2 6-2 to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in their Fed Cup World Group first-round tie against champions Russia on Saturday.


World number 17 Peer started nervously while Safina did not put a foot wrong, pounding winners from the baseline at will and completing the first-set whitewash in 25 minutes.


Safina's confidence suffered as Peer got into the match. Once the home favorite's baseline game got going and she was able to force errors from the Russian, the momentum began swinging Peer's way.

Peer on Saturday (Photo: Eli Elgarat)


She broke Safina, ranked one place above her, three times in the second set to level the match and overcame a tentative start in the final one to win it 6-2.


"This was perhaps my sweetest comeback, I saw the crowd who had all come to watch us and I know that I could not let them down," Peer said.


A disappointed Safina said she had played the match wrong tactically.


"She was not in the match at all in the first set, and I hit winners, but later she got into the match and I played into her hands and made too many mistakes."


Sharapova evens score

But Israel's lead was short-lived as Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova eased past Israel's 34-year-old Tzipi Obziler 6-0 6-4 to level the scores at 1-1 in their Fed Cup World Group first-round tie later on Saturday.


Sharapova had far too much power for Obziler, who could find no answer to the tall Russian's baseline winners. But Obziler, ranked 85 in the world put up more of a fight in the second set as errors crept into Sharapova's game.


She wowed the crowd by coming back from came back from 4-0 and 5-1 down to creep back to 5-4 before Sharapova closed out the match.

Sharapova in Ramat HaSharon 


Sharapova said even though the crowd was against her it was something she revelled in. "I love it... it actually gives me energy, as an athlete this is what I play for and it drives me to do better," the 20-year-old said.


Obziler, 35, said it took her time to get used to the conditions and playing in front of home spectators.


"I had to learn to deal with the conditions and the support of the crowd, it was a bit late for me, I'm sorry to say," she said.


The reverse singles and doubles matches will be played on Sunday.


פרסום ראשון: 02.02.08, 15:39
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