(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er came up just short in her attempt to reach the final in Memphis for a second straight year on Friday, losing to Olga Govortsova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
The 20-year-old Israeli, who lost to Venus Williams in the title match in 2007, has yet to reach a final this year and was bitterly disappointed with her defeat against Govortsova.
"I'm disappointed. It could have gone either way," Pe'er wrote in a blog on the WTA tour's official Web site.
"I had my chances in the first as well as the third set. In the third set I had a break point at 3-3 and just missed. It was the kind of match that every point was so important, and I just wasn't able to win enough of them."
Pe'er (18 in the world) lost in her first career meeting against Govortsova (49) in Stanford last July and struggled once more against her Belarusian opponent on Friday.
The Israeli was broken five times during the match, with Govortsova completing the win with a break of serve in the final game of the match.
"I didn't start the season too well but I got some confidence last week in Doha, and I'm playing really well now," said Govortsova. "She started the match really well, so I had to start playing more aggressively and tried really hard, and that's how I won."
Pe'er will now travel to San Diego where she will train with her coach Conchita Martinez ahead of the important tournament in Indian Wells, which begins on March 10.
"My last few matches have all been tough and I can take a lot of positives from this week. I was playing well the whole week," Pe'er said.
"There are some really important tournaments coming up, and I'm really hoping I can do well at them like I did last year."
Meanwhile, on Saturday eighth-seeded Elena Dementieva won the Dubai Championships on Saturday, beating second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in an all-Russian final.
Dementieva lost the 2004 US Open final to Kuznetsova.
In other tennis news, top-ranked Roger Federer was drawn to play the 12th-ranked Andy Murray of Britain in the opening round at the Dubai Championships.
Federer, a four-time champion, has lost only two matches since playing in Dubai for the first time in 2002 - to Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the round-of-16 in 2002 and Rafael Nadal in the 2006 final.
Federer and Murray are 1-1 in head-to-head. The Briton won their last match, in the second round of the 2006 ATP Masters in Cincinnati.
The tournament starts Monday at the Aviation Club.
The second-ranked Nadal was drawn Saturday to play Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. If he wins, Nadal will then meet either UAE wild card Nader Mahmoud or a qualifier in the second round.
Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic opens against Marin Cilic of Croatia. The Serb could then play Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, who lost to Federer in last year's final.
Sixth-seeded Andy Roddick will make his Dubai debut against former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.
The top six ranked players are in in the field of 32 with the winner collecting $300,000.
AP contributed to this report