Shahar Pe'er lost her second-round encounter at the Japan Open in Tokyo against top seed Vera Zvonareva and with it a chance to overtake Anna Smashnova as the top ranked Israeli player on the WTA Tour.
Pe'er, who is ranked 50th by the WTA, would have had a chance to surpass Smashnova (42) had she advanced to the quarterfinals at Zvonareva's (24) expense, however the Russian came out on top 6-3, 7-5. Smashnova is idle this week.
The Israeli No. 2 will hope that her doubles partner, Sania Mirza (37) of India, has an easy time Friday against Zvonareva, because she'll need her later in the day. Pe'er and Mirza upset the third seeds, Nicole Pratt of Australia and Tathiana Garbin of Italy, 6-2, 6-1 Thursday in the quarters and will take on the second seeds, Maria Kirilenko of Russia and Argentina's Gisela Dulko, in Friday's semifinals.
Last week Pe'er and partner Vera Douchevina defeated Dulko and Venezuela's Maria Vento-Kabchi in the first round of the Korea Open in Seoul.
Pe'er's recent doubles success will see her enter the top 100 in the WTA's doubles rankings for the first time when the new rankings are released Monday. She currently occupies the 102 spot.
Also Thursday, Tzipi Obziler (147) lost to Russian teenager Elena Vesnina (144) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the second round of the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan.
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