Pe'er in contention for WTA award

Shahar Pe'er continues to rise in the WTA ranks and could be on the verge of two more memorable moments.

By FRANKIE SACHS
March 14, 2006 04:34
1 minute read.
shahar peer 298.88

shahar peer 298.88. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Shahar Pe'er continues to rise in the WTA ranks and could be on the verge of two more memorable moments. The Israeli teenager is up for the WTA's Most Impressive Newcomer award for 2005, which is decided by fan voting, and will face former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova on Tuesday in the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California. Pe'er, ranked 35th in the world, came from behind to oust Eleni Daniilidou (73) of Greece 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 in a three-hour, 10-minute duel on Sunday. The match featured 16 service breaks, a luxury Pe'er cannot afford if she hopes to upset Sharapova (5) and book a spot in the quarterfinals. The two have met only once before, with the Russian recording a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win in Beijing last September. A win would certainly draw attention to Pe'er's bid to win the Newcomer award, which will be presented at the Stars for Stars tennis benefit dinner on March 21 in Miami, Florida. Pe'er is up against Michaella Krajicek (56) of the Netherlands, India's Sania Mirza (45) and Lucie Safarova (30) of the Czech Republic. Voting for the award, as well as Most Improved and Comeback Player of the Year for both men and women, can be done at the award dinner's Web site (http://www.starsforstarsmiami.com/fanvoting). Other awards that will be presented at the banquet include Player of the Year and Doubles Team of the Year, Sportsmanship and the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. Past winners of the Most Impressive Newcomer include Sharapova (2003), Kim Clijsters (1999), Serena Williams ('98) and Venus Williams ('97). On Monday, Pe'er was scheduled to play her opening-round doubles match at Indian Wells. Pe'er and Australian partner Bryanne Stewart were up against French wildcards Nathalie Dechy and Tatiana Golovin. Earlier Monday, Anna Smashnova (41) lost her third-round match to rising German star Anna-Lena Groenefeld (18). After winning the first set, Smashnova lost her momentum and was ousted 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in exactly two hours. Also on Monday, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich were scheduled to take on Spanish star Rafael Nadal and Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the men's doubles first round.

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