Despite her defeat in the final of the Baku Cup on Sunday, Shahar Pe’er left Azerbaijan with plenty of reasons for optimism. Pe’er was hoping to claim her first WTA Tour title since lifting the trophy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in September 2009. However, she dropped to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Elina Svitolina in her first tour final since July 2011 when she lost to Nadia Petrova in Washington.
Nevertheless, Pe’er is set to climb around 40 places on Monday morning from her current ranking at No. 149 in the world and regain her status as the Israel No. 1.
“An amazing week! Was by myself! Very proud of my achievement,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “Wanted to win, But that’s sport! Only positive!” Pe’er who traveled to Baku by herself after parting with coach Pablo Giacopelli a few weeks ago, applauded her 18-year-old opponent on her first ever WTA title.
“I’d like to congratulate you, Elina – you played great,” said the 26-year-old Israeli, who dropped to 5-4 in her career in WTA finals. “I was really happy to be in the final and in this position to win a title, and although I didn’t win today, this tournament was great and I had a great time in Baku.
Thanks to everyone for everything, and I hope to be back here next year.”
Julia Glushko (110) lost 6-4, 6-3 to Shelby Rogers of the USA in the semifinals of the ITF tournament in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday night.
Pe’er had won just six main draw matches in 2013 prior to the Baku Cup, plummeting as low as No. 179 in the rankings and losing her status as the Israel No. 1 to Glushko last month for the first time since 2006.
Despite her success in Baku, Pe’er will still have to come through the US Open qualifiers next month to reach the Grand Slam tournament for a 10th straight year.
Pe’er failed to qualify for Wimbledon last month, missing her first major since the 2009 French Open, which she sat out due to injury.
Pe’er missed just her second Grand Slam main draw of the past 34 majors played since making her debut at Roland Garros eight years ago.
Dudi Sela (97) has already guaranteed his place in the US Open main draw and on Sunday he claimed the 15th Challenger title of his career, edging Mikhail Kukushkin (181) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (6) in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Sela, who will climb over 20 places when the new ATP rankings are released on Monday, squandered four match points on his serve in the 10th game, but finally clinched the win in the tiebreak before refusing to shake Kukushkin’s hand at the net after being unhappy with his conduct during the match.
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