Shahar Pe'er's run at the French Open ended on Monday as she lost the third and deciding set of her fourth-round match to Martina Hingis and hours later was eliminated from the doubles competition as well.
The Israeli teenager was never able to regain the momentum she had Sunday before her match against Hingis was halted at the end of the second set due to darkness. After a 16-hour delay, the Swiss star stormed to a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory.
Shortly afterward, Pe'er and French partner Marion Bartoli were ousted in the doubles event, losing 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 to the No. 5 seeds, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Japan's Ai Sugiyama. Pe'er and Bartoli came within one point of advancing to the quarters during the 10th game of the second set, but Hantuchova and Sugiyama held their own, eventually winning the game and later forcing the tiebreaker. From that point on, the momentum remained with the Slovakian/Japanese duo who cruised to victory.
Pe'er's impressive showing ensured that she will no longer be overlooked by anyone on the WTA Tour.
"I've never played her before, and she's definitely a young, up [and] coming player. Since last time I saw her, she's improved a lot," Hingis said in the post-match press conference.
The former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champ admitted that she may have been going down if not for the break in play after the second set.
"Well, yesterday was difficult, you know, under difficult conditions," she said. "But I think for me it was better because she had the momentum and I could go out there fresh today. So that probably helped me at the end of the day."
Hingis will face second-seeded Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals.
Pe'er, who earned 70,675 euros and will move towards the top 20 when the new rankings are released next Monday, was quite pleased with her performance.
"I'm a girl that hates to lose, but I'm seeing the glass as half-full. I gave everything on the court, I fought for every point... I had an amazing tournament and since the Fed Cup, I've only lost twice."
Pe'er is 18-2 since mid-April when the Europe/Africa Zone I Fed Cup tournament in Bulgaria began. She finished the WTA clay court season with a 13-3 record.
She summed up her play by saying, "I beat a top 10 player for the first time and I reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Even if I lost, I played against a great player and I'll continue to improve."
The last remaining Israeli player in action in Paris is Andy Ram, who advanced to the mixed doubles quarterfinals on Sunday. Ram and Russian partner Vera Zvonareva next face the fifth-seeded Australian duo of Rennae Stubbs and Todd Perry on Tuesday.
Ram has an impressive track record in mixed doubles, having reached at least the semifinals at every Grand Slam other than the French - including an appearance in the 2003 Wimbledon final. His best showing in Paris was the quarterfinals together with Petra Mandula of Hungary two years ago.
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