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Shahar Pe'er was outclassed on Wednesday afternoon by world No. 5 Nadia Petrova, losing 6-1, 6-1 in less then an hour in the second round of the $600,000 Generali Linz tournament in Austria.
Wednesday's match was the fourth straight in which Pe'er (22) has lost to a top 10 player. However, unlike the previous three in which she matched her opponents point for point, against Petrova the Israeli was clearly second best.
Linz is Pe'er's last tournament of the 2006 WTA season, meaning she will likely finish just outside the WTA top 20 at season's end.
Petrova stormed to a 3-0 lead at the start of the match with the Israeli helpless against the Russian's excellent serve. Pe'er finally got on the board after winning the fourth game of the set, but Petrova won the next three games, closing out the set with an ace. The Russian hit 14 winners in the first set compared to Pe'er's two.
The Israeli took the first game of the second set with a backhand winner, but sadly that would prove to be her last game of the match. Petrova held on to her service games with ease and broke Pe'er at will. The Russian won at one stage 11 consecutive points and it wasn't long before she completed an easy victory.
Despite losing, Pe'er is staying in Austria for the meantime, hoping to end her season on a high note with doubles partner Marion Bartoli. The pair will be in action on Thursday, in the quarterfinals.
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