Tennis: Shahar Pe'er loses to China's Na Li in Doha

Loses 6-1, 6-3 in the third round at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha.

na li 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
na li 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er's run at the Qatar Open came to a grinding halt on Thursday. The 20-year-old, who made history by being the first Israeli tennis player to compete in a Gulf State, lost 6-1, 6-3 to China's Na Li in the third round at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha. Pe'er (17 in the world) will now travel to the US to take part in the in a Tier III event in Memphis next week, On Thursday she only managed to hold serve once in the first set which was won by Li (29) in less than 30 minutes. "I'm very disappointed with this defeat," Pe'er said after the match. "There was a very strong wind during the match and unfortunately I couldn't find my rhythm. I haven't managed to put together a string of victories for a while now and that's very disappointing. All in all playing in Doha was a positive experience and I believe I will be back here next year." The Israeli, who converted just one of seven break points during the encounter, stopped the rot at the start of the second set and took a 2-0 lead after opening the set with a break and a love hold. However, it would not take Li long to peg back Pe'er and the score was tied at 3-3 after the Israeli lost her serve once more. Pe'er had her chances in a marathon seventh game, but Li managed to hold her serve and quickly wrapped up the match by claiming the next two games. Also Thursday in the $2,500,000 event, second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by Sybille Bammer and sixth-seeded Venus Williams lost to Dominika Cibulkova. The 15th-seeded Bammer overcame strong winds to win 6-3, 7-6 (8) in exactly two hours. Bammer broke Kuznetsova's serve three times in the first set, and both players had four breaks in the second. "It is always great to beat a top-10 player," Bammer said. "She is a good player with a lot of ability. The conditions were terrible to play. But we have to play in such conditions no matter what." Cibulkova used strong baseline play and broke serve twice in both sets to defeat Williams 6-3, 6-3 in the first meeting between them. "This is the best win of my career," the 18-year-old Cibulkova said. "Today I played my game and beat my favorite player. I admired her as a child." In earlier matches, Vera Zvonareva beat 11th-seeded Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-3 while Caroline Wozniacki rallied to oust Anabel Medina Garriegues 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. In Thursday's night match, Maria Sharapova remained perfect in 2008, defeating Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-2, 6-2. Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic pulled out of the tournament before her third-round match against Agnieszka Radwanska because of an ankle injury sustained on Wednesday. AP contributed to this report