(photo credit: AP)
Despite losing in straight sets to Serena Williams in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami on Thursday night, Shahar Pe'er will equal her career-best world ranking of No. 15 on Monday morning.
The Israeli teenager, who was playing in a semifinal of a Tier I event for the first time in her career, collected 225 points for reaching the last four of the massive $3.45 million tournament and will as a result climb up the rankings when they're officially released.
Pe'er pushed Williams (18) for the first hour of Thursday's semi, but after edging the Israeli 7-4 in a first set tiebreaker, the 25-year-old American seized control of the match and raced to a 6-1 second set win in just 29 minutes.
"I'm not pleased with a close match, because the bottom line is that I lost and Serena is in the final," Pe'er said. "I'm happy with my form in the first set, but disappointed with my play in the second set. I don't think I played that well.
"I couldn't recapture my excellent form from the earlier rounds. Serena served very well throughout the match and I almost never got close to breaking."
Pe'er, who only had two break points, lost 40 of 49 points in which Williams got her first serve in and only hit seven winners.
After splitting the first 12 games of the match, the winner of the first set had to be determined on a tiebreaker. Williams, who defeated Pe'er in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open two months ago, took four of the first five points in the tiebreaker and wrapped up the set in the 11th point.
Williams got the first break of the match in the second game of the second set and went on to win four of the next five games to book her place in the final against Justine Henin.
"The first set was a real battle," said Williams, who improved her 2007 record to 14-1. "I didn't play as well as I wanted to but what was cool was that I hit all these errors and was still able to rely on some aspects of my game. In the second set, I was able to relax and be confident."
Williams was asked about visiting Israel. "I would love to go to Israel," she said. "I've heard great things about it. I've heard unbelievable things, that it was beautiful...
"I'd love to see the city of Jerusalem, and all the old ancient cities that you read about in the Bible. I think it would be amazing to see all of that history. It would be cool..."
Pe'er was scheduled to take part in the Bausch and Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, this week, but withdrew in order to train and rest ahead of the Family Circle Cup, which takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, next week.