Shahar Peer makes winning start to Dubai event

February 15, 2010 13:37

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Shahar Peer 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 her from playing last year, with tournament organizers saying they feared fan anger targeting Peer over Israel's three week military offensive in Gaza.

Organizers were fined $300,000 by the WTA and required to open the event to all qualifying players.

There were no signs of protests Monday as 22nd-ranked Peer scored an upset win.

Coach Pablo Giacopelli says Peer can only travel from her hotel to the tournament under rules by the United Arab Emirates.

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