Peer reaches Dubai quarterfinals
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Shahar Peer upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 Wednesday, reaching the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championship a year after she was denied a visa to play in the tournament.
"I played very, very good, and I'm really happy," Peer said. "I was dominating from the first game until the end."
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Defending champion Venus Williams advanced with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Olga Govortsova. Second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by qualifier Regina Kulikova 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4, while Vera Zvonareva, last weekend's Pattaya champion, defeated sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-2 to run her win streak to seven matches.
Last year, Dubai organizers were fined $300,000 by the WTA for not allowing Peer to play in the event. She was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates government, citing security reasons.
The Israeli had at least one break opportunity on each of Wozniacki's 10 service games. She had never previously won a set off the U.S. Open finalist in three previous matches.
Peer lost to Wozniacki 6-4, 6-0 in the third round of the Australian Open.
"When I played her in Australia, I played well in the first set, and I had my chances but I didn't take them," Peer said. "So I knew the next time I have to play her, I really need to take my chances because she never gives up. She's always there. I'm really happy I could manage it."
The 22nd-ranked Peer closed it out on her fifth match point in a second set that contained seven breaks. The third-ranked Wozniacki held serve only twice in the match.
"She played really well," Wozniacki said. "She kept changing the rhythm all the time. I had a few unforced errors early in the match and never managed to put her under pressure."
The match was moved from Center Court to Court No. 1 at the Aviation Club because it is the most secure, a decision Wozniacki agreed to even though she said the court speed was different.
"If there is a threat to her, there is a threat to me as well. So I completely agree with the fact that the match was scheduled on Court No. 1. I'd rather be safe than sorry," Wozniacki said. "The change of court did create a bit of a problem, since it was a little faster than the Center Court. But the conditions were the same for both of us and I really can't complain."
Both players traded breaks in the opening set before Peer broke decisively to lead 4-1. Wozniacki won only 42 percent her points on her first serve and 37 percent on the second.
Third-seeded Williams started sluggishly to trail 4-1. She changed strategy, not going for winners and extending the rallies, and allowed Govortsova only one more game in the match.
"I started the match with a double-break, which wasn't ideal," Williams said. "But I just had to just start from where I was and not get frustrated about it."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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