Israeli tennis player Pe'er wins opening match in Dubai

By BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 15, 2010 16:14

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Shahar Pe'er rallied to beat 15th-ranked Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in her opening match at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, a year after the Israeli player had been denied a visa to the Emirates.

Authorities cited safety reasons for preventing Pe'er from playing last year, with tournament organizers saying they feared fan anger targeting her over Israel's three-week military offensive in Gaza.

There were no signs of protests or special security measures on the court Monday as the 22nd-ranked Pe'er scored an upset win over Wickmayer. But tournament organizers have restricted the Israeli's movement to the tennis courts and her hotel, her coach said.

"We knew it would be different, but it does complicate matters for us somewhat because Shahar is not used to this," said her Argentine coach, Pablo Giacopelli. "Of course we understand the tournament's view. They want her to be able to play tennis without anything happening to her."


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