Pe’er justifies Dubai wild-card gift with 1st-round victory

Tennis: 24-year-old Israeli beats world No. 557 Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman 6-3, 6-1.

Shahar Peer 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Peer 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Pe’er made the most of a wild-card and favorable draw to advance to the second round of the Dubai Championships on Monday, beating world No. 557 Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman 6-3, 6-1.
The 24-year-old Israeli was preparing to play in the Dubai qualifiers when she was notified over the weekend that she has been handed one of the tournament’s two wild cards, three years after the organizers were fined $300,000 due to Pe’er’s inability to get a visa to the UAE to play in the event.
Pe’er, who dropped three places to No. 40 in the world earlier Monday, was also fortunate enough to face the other wild card, Al Nabhani, in the first round and she needed just 61 minutes to secure her progress.
Next up for Pe’er, who reached the semifinals and quarterfinals in her last two appearances in Dubai, is a second-round meeting against the winner of Tuesday’s match between world No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska and qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak (80).
Dudi Sela, who fell one place to No. 74 on Monday, will play in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis this week and will face Benjamin Becker (284) in the first round.