Pe'er downs Myskina to capture title

Third-set tiebreaker decides Istanbul Open, a Roland Garros tune-up.

peer lifts cup 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
peer lifts cup 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er's career hit new heights on Saturday as she recorded her most impressive victory to date while winning her third WTA Tour title of the year and second in three weeks. The Israeli teenager overcame a rough start to topple top seed Anastasia Myskina of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in the final of the Istanbul Cup. "This is my biggest victory," Peer told the WTA Web site after the match. "To beat someone ranked as high as Myskina, this was an amazing end to the tournament. I never gave up and I kept believing in myself. It's great to win another tournament just before the French Open so I'm going to go to Paris really high on confidence." Myskina, a former French Open champion, represents the highest ranked player Pe'er has ever beaten. She is ranked 12th. The win brings Pe'er's record to 15-1 in the past six weeks, during which she led Israel to a World Group II playoff spot in the Fed Cup and won the title at the Prague Open. On Friday, Pe'er blew by 15th-ranked Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals. The title is also the most prestigious Pe'er has won as a professional, since Istanbul is a Tier III event. Her previous wins, Prague and Pattaya City, were both Tier IV events. She will crack the top 30 for the first time when the WTA releases its new rankings on Sunday. Neither player gave a brilliant performance in the final, but Pe'er's toughness served her well in the end. Things didn't look good for the Israeli at the end of the first set, but she shook things up a bit early in the second, started coming to the net more and managed to break Myskina's serve. The Russian broke back at first, but Pe'er was persistent and after another break she held serve and went on to even the match. After Pe'er took another service game from Myskina to start the third, the Russian received treatment for a hand injury. Pe'er remained in control and scored another break for a 3-0 lead, but Myskina came back and even took a 5-4 lead. The Russian would also lead 6-5 only for Pe'er to bear down and force the tiebreaker. At that point, the temperamental Russian gave away points with a handful of unforced errors, allowing Pe'er to take the win and the trophy on her way to Paris for the French Open. "My arm started to hurt in the second set and so I was having trouble holding the racquet," Myskina said. "It was natural for her to hit to my forehand, but I just kept fighting. I came close today but not close enough. However, I made the final here, so I'm really happy with my week. I started the match well and I was pleased with my game so that is a positive sign going into Roland Garros." Pe'er also tied Nadia Petrova for fewest games lost en route to winning a title this year. Petrova (3) dropped just 26 during her run to he title at Doha in March. Pe'er will now have at least two days off before she faces Ukrainian teenager Olga Savchuk (102) in the first round at the French Open. She is seeded 31st at the Grand Slam in which she reached the third round last year. The only other Israeli in the women's main draw will be Anna Smashnova (50), who drew Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik (26), the No. 24 seed, in the first round. Smashnova has faced Srebotnik twice before, losing to her in straight sets in the opening round of the 2002 Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2004. The men's doubles team of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will be seeded in their event when the draw is released later this week. Erlich is also scheduled to team with Pe'er in the mixed doubles. Yevgenia Savransky (241), who was hoping to join Pe'er and Smashnova in the main draw, lost in the third and final round of qualifying, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Italian Alberta Brianti (185).