Inspired Peer can’t lift Israel

By Simon Griver, February 12, 2009

Israel are in danger of being relegated from the Federation Cup World Group II after being drawn to play away to Estonia.

A plucky performance was not enough to save them from defeat in the Ukraine last weekend when they went down 3-2, and they must now travel to the Baltic state in late April when they will again start as underdogs.

Shahar Peer (48) and Tzipi Obziler are set to take on Kaia Kanepi (23) and Maret Ani (109).

If the Israelis are to avoid relegation to Zonal Group I, they will need Peer to repeat her impressive performances in the Ukraine. Peer, 21, beat both the Bondarenko sisters in three sets, beginning with Kateryna (50) and rounding off with a victory over Alona (31) in which she came back from 0-4 down to take the final set.

“The victory over Alona was the best comeback of my career,” said Peer. “But it just was not enough. We were worthy opponents for a tough Ukraine team but we fell short in the end.”

Obziler could only manage to take one set in her two matches and teamed up with Peer to lose the doubles, the final match of the tie, in straight sets to the Ukrainian sisters.

Israel captain Lior Mor said: “We can take much satisfaction from coming so close and I think we are good enough to win in Estonia.”

Andy Ram teamed up with Julian Knowle to knock out the British duo of Andy Murray and James Auckland in the first round of the Rotterdam tournament. Seeded fourth in the tournament, Ram and Knowle won 6-3, 6-4.

Last updated: 6:30pm, February 12 2009