Tennis: Pe'er defeated in hard-fought quarterfinals

Pe'er lost Slovak 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (5) in a 2 hour, 43-minute duel in the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells.

Shahar Peer 88 (photo credit: AP)
Shahar Peer 88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel's Shahar Pe'er lost to Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (5) in a 2 hour, 43-minute duel in the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells. The 14th-seeded Hantuchova, a straight-set winner against Martina Hingis on Tuesday, cruised early on after racing through a 34-minute first set. Pe'er got back in the game after the Slovak committed 51 unforced errors in the second and third sets. Pe'er took the early lead in the third but it was Hantuchova who got the first chance to serve for the victory at 5-4. Pe'er, well-known for her tough mental skills, fought back, but was succumbed in the tie-breaker. "I guess the more time I spend on the court, the better for me," said Hantuchova. "I always feel like I've got the physical advantage with the players that I can last a little longer, maybe, than they can, and that gives me a lot of confidence." On Tuesday, Pe'er added another highlight to her short but splendid career by defeating world No. 11 Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 7-6(2) to advance to the quarterfinals. After the match with Chakvetadze, Pe'er spoke of the expectations she faces as Israel's No. 1 tennis player and of her rapid climb up the rankings. "I always said I don't feel pressure," she said. "I feel the people in Israel give me a lot of support and they don't put any pressure on me. "I know I'm young and the public always expects good results. I started this year well and I'm just enjoying being on court and practicing. "So I feel no pressure. This is only my third year on the tour. I finished 2006 in 20th place, in 2005 I ended the year in 45th, and the year before I finished just inside the top 200 [183]. "So I'm taking it step by step. I never jumped from 200 to No. 1 in the world. I'm never in a rush. I wish I could go from 200 to 1, but I guess my tennis is not good enough. I am a top 20 [player] and I'm getting closer to the top 10. "There is a big gap between me and the top 10 and I have to do very well in big tournaments, which I'm starting to do. I must play better in the Tier I's and Grand Slams and then maybe I will get into the top 10." Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, who are seeded sixth in the men's doubles tournament, were also set to be in action later Wednesday, against Spanish duo Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco in the second round.