Pe’er Dubai 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
After making history by simply taking part in the Dubai Tennis
Championships, Shahar Pe’er made international headlines for her play
on court on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Israeli snapped her 10-match losing streak against top
10 players with a 6-2, 7-5 upset victory against world number 3 and top
seed Caroline Wozniacki, reaching the quarterfinals of the lucrative $2
million event a year after she was denied a visa to play in the
“I played really well,” Pe’er said. “I was aggressive throughout the
match and dominated the points. I didn’t serve very well, but I
returned the ball excellently. I’m very pleased with my level of tennis
and I hope to continue playing well in the rest of the tournament.”
Pe’er, who hadn’t beaten a top 10 player since June 2008, will face
another of the very best on Thursday. The Israeli plays world No. 10
and eighth seed Li Na, who overcame Marion Bartoli 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 on
Pe’er had never previously even taken a set off Wozniacki in three
matches and won just four games in a third round loss at the Australian
Open last month.
However, the Israeli reached at least one break opportunity on each of
the 2009 US Open finalist’s 10 service games on Wednesday and broke the
Dane eight times during the match.
“When I played her in Australia, I played well in the first set, and I
had my chances but I didn’t take them,” Pe’er said. “So I knew the next
time I have to play her, I really need to take my chances because she
never gives up. She’s always there. I’m really happy I could manage
The 22nd-ranked Pe’er closed it out on her fifth match point in a
second set that contained seven breaks. The third-ranked Wozniacki held
serve only twice in the match.
“She played really well,” Wozniacki said. “She kept changing the rhythm
all the time. I had a few unforced errors early in the match and never
managed to put her under pressure.”
Last year, organizers were fined $300,000 by the WTA for not allowing
Pe’er to play in the event. She was denied a visa by the United Arab
Emirates government, citing security reasons.
Wednesday’s match was moved from Center Court to Court No. 1 at the
Aviation Club because it is the most secure, a decision Wozniacki
agreed to even though she said the court speed was different.
“If there is a threat to her, there is a threat to me as well. So I
completely agree with the fact that the match was scheduled on Court
No. 1. I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Wozniacki said.
“The change of court did create a bit of a problem, since it was a
little faster than the Center Court. But the conditions were the same
for both of us and I really can’t complain.”
Thursday’s quarterfinal will also be played on Court No. 1 for safety reasons.
“I am pretty good at blocking it all out,” said Pe’er, who has been
restricted to the tennis courts and her hotel by the organizers, and is
being escorted onto court by 16 body guards.
“I try to take energy from what’s going on, and I really think I am playing better and better.
“I never cried like this when I won before. I’ve cried before when I
lost matches, but this is the first time I cried when I won.”
Also Wednesday, defending champion Venus Williams advanced with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Olga Govortsova.
Second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by qualifier Regina Kulikova 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4.
The other matches went as seeded: Fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka
defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and seventh-seeded
Agnieszka Radwanska dispatched Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-0.AP contributed to this report.