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Israeli tennis prodigy Shahar Pe'er has clinced a semi-final spot in the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourt Championship on Thursday after defeating 14-ranked Serbian Anna Ivanovitch in the quarterfinals 5:7, 6:4, 6:4.
The victory is expected to move Pe'er up the rankings to #18, the highest of her career.
Pe'er advanced to the quarterfinals of the championship on Wednesday morning by defeating Russian Olga Poutchkova 6-3, 6-2.
"Olga had a great end to 2006 so I knew she'd be tough," Pe'er said. "I'm happy with the tennis I played, I held my concentration and I was there every point."
Thursday's match between Ivanovic and Peer was the first WTA Tour meeting between the two teenage stars.
"I played her last April in the Fed Cup on clay and I beat her, but that was clay, and every match is a new match and every day a new day," Peer said. "She's a nice girl and a friend of mine and I'm looking forward to the match."
"I played her last year on clay, and she won in three sets, but that was clay and I've improved a lot since then," Ivanovic said before the match.
"She's a great player and I think we'll have a good match. I'm looking forward to it."
After splitting the first six games of the match against Poutchkova (39), Pe'er won three straight games, including a crucial break of serve in the eighth game, to take the first set 6-3.
The Israeli raced forward at the start of the second set and grabbed a quick 4-1 lead. Poutchkova was down and out and Pe'er closed out the match in the eighth game of the set.
A couple of hours after her singles quarterfinals on Thursday morning, Pe'er is due to take the court once again for the last eight of the doubles. The Israeli and Russian partner Maria Kirilenko face American Vania King and Australian Nicole Pratt for a semifinal berth.
Ram and Erlich ousted in Adelaide
Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich lost 6-4, 6-3, to South African Wesley Moodie and American Todd Perry in the first round of the $436,000 Adelaide tournament on Wednesday morning.
The Israelis, who ended last season as the world's seventh-best doubles team, won the tournament in Adelaide last year and despite being seeded No. 1 this time around, lost disappointingly to an inferior duo.
Ram and Erlich dropped the first two games of the match and despite tying the first set at 4-4, lost the next two games.
After splitting the first six games in the second set, Moodie and Perry reeled off three straight games and secured the win.
Ram and Erlich will attempt to put their Australian Open preparations back on track in the Sydney tournament next week.
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