Pe'er reaches Gold Coast semis [p. 12]

Shahar Pe'er guaranteed herself a career-best world ranking on Thursday morning by defeating Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourt Championship in Gold Coast. The Israeli is currently 20th in the world but will rise to 18 after rallying from a set down to defeat Ivanovic in a match that lasted one minute shy of two hours. "It was a tough match with very good tennis," Pe'er said. "In the first set, she broke me, then I won four games in a row. I was up in the second and third sets early, which helped me. I served well and timed the ball well today." Pe'er's opponent in Friday's semifinal will be No. 2 seed Dinara Safina (11) of Russia, who defeated Australian Samantha Stosur (29) 7-6(4), 6-3, on Thursday. Safina dominated Pe'er in their two meetings to date, dropping only five games total over both matches. "I've played Safina twice and never beaten her; she beat me very easily," Pe'er said. "It will be very tough, but I'm excited to be in the semifinals." Despite defeating the Israeli easily in the past, Safina isn't taking Pe'er lightly this time around. "She's playing so well here - to beat Ivanovic is very tough, as she was also playing well," Safina said. Ivanovic (14) got off to a quick start on Thursday and took the first two games with ease. Pe'er replied with four straight games, including two breaks, and grabbed a 4-2 lead. The Israeli failed to take advantage of her lead and Ivanovic tied the set at 4-4 and won three of the subsequent four games to wrap up the set. In the second set, it was Pe'er who took a 2-0 lead and this time the Serbian was the one to come back immediately and tie the score. The Israeli broke once more in the fifth game of the set but this time held on to her service games and closed out the set 6-4. Pe'er continued her good play at the start of the third set, winning the first three games. Ivanovic clawed back with a break of serve, but Pe'er kept herself in front and completed the third-set win with a love service game. The Israeli did suffer a minor disappointment later on in the day when she and Russian partner Maria Kirilenko lost 6-2, 6-3, to American Vania King and Australian Nicole Pratt in the doubles quarterfinals.