Pe’er into first WTA final in two years

Israeli tennis star set to face Elina Svitolina in the final of the Baku Cup in Azerbaijan.

Shahar Peer 2013, 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Peer 2013, 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Pe’er will be aiming to end a drought lasting almost four years when she faces Elina Svitolina in the final of the Baku Cup in Azerbaijan on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Israeli will be hoping to claim her first WTA Tour title since lifting the trophy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in September 2009, playing her first tour final since July 2011 when she lost to Nadia Petrova in Washington.
Pe’er, ranked No. 149 in the world, beat Magda Linette (226) of Poland 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals on Saturday and will next face Svitolina (71) after the 18-yearold Ukrainian overcame Alexandra Cadantu 6-1, 6-4.
Pe’er had won just six main draw matches in 2013 prior to the Baku Cup, plummeting down the rankings and losing her status as the Israel No. 1 last month to Julia Glushko for the first time since 2006.
Another win for Pe’er, who had dropped as low as No.
179 in the world, should see her leapfrog Glushko, who is playing in the ITF tournament in Lexington, Kentucky this week.
Despite her success in Baku, Pe’er will still have to come through the US Open qualifiers next month to reach the Grand Slam tournament for the 10th straight year.
Pe’er failed to qualify for Wimbledon last month, missing her first major since the 2009 French Open, which she sat out due to injury.
Pe’er missed just her second Grand Slam main draw in the past 34 majors played since making her debut at Roland Garros eight years ago.
Glushko (110) played Shelby Rogers of the USA in the semifinals in Lexington late Saturday night.
Dudi Sela (97) will face Mikhail Kukushkin (181) in the final of the Challenger tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Sela beat Konstantin Kravchuk (191) 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the semifinals on Saturday and should climb over 20 places in the ATP rankings with a victory in the final.