Shahar Peer 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It took Shahar Pe’er seven months to reach her only semifinal of last year, but
on Friday she will already be playing her first semi of 2012 after getting the
better of Anna Chakvetadze in the quarterfinals of the Hobart International in
Australia on Thursday.
Chakvetadze, a former world No. 5 who has dropped
to No.234 following illness and injury setbacks, was forced to retire after
being broken in the first game of the decisive third set suffering from what
officials said was severe cramping.
The Russian looked impressive in
winning the first set 6-4, but she also first showed signs of not being fully
fit late in that set and Pe’er (37) tied up the match with a 6-4 win in the
second before Chakvetadze threw in the towel after just one game in the
Standing between Pe’er and her first WTA Tour final since late
last July when she progressed past the quarterfinal stage of a tournament for
the only time in 2011, is top seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.
beat Simona Halep 6-4, 6-0 in the quarters on Thursday and has a 3-2 career
record against Pe’er, although they split their two meetings last
Israel No. 2 Julia Glushko (209) closed to within two wins of
reaching her first ever main draw at a Grand Slam tournament after defeating
Japan’s Rika Fujiwara 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round of qualifiers at the
Next up for Glushko is a tough meeting with Andrea
Meanwhile, China’s Li Na drew on her superior fitness
to reach the final of the Sydney International on Thursday with a 1-6 7-5 6-2
victory over Czech world number two Petra Kvitova, who started brilliantly but
ran out of steam.
The resilient Li dug deep to recover from a first-set
pasting to book a place in the final of an event she won last year and
extinguish her exhausted opponent’s hopes of becoming world number one before
the Australian Open starts on Monday.
In the other semifinal, world No. 3
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus performed a similar escape act to Li in beating
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6 6-3 6-2 to qualify for Friday’s
In a worrying sign before the Melbourne Park tournament that is
traditionally a survival of the fittest in the blazing Australian summer heat,
Kvitova admitted she had hit the wall in the deciding set.
“I played very
well the first set, I was the one making the winners,” Kvitova told
“After that, it was very tough. I was a little bit slower in
the moving and she played really well. Now I’m really tired. The next tournament
is Melbourne, so hopefully I will be better and not as tired as
Kvitova was looming as a strong favorite for the first Grand Slam
event of the season before Li ran her ragged, her fatigue in the later stages of
the match suggesting the asthmatic might struggle in day matches in
Had Kvitova won the tournament she would have claimed the
world No. 1 ranking from Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, who was defeated by
Radwanska in the quarterfinals.
Wozniacki suffered a wrist injury in her
match against the eighth-ranked Pole but an MRI scan on Thursday cleared her of
any serious damage.Reuters contributed to this report