Peer reaches Dubai quarterfinals

Updated: February 17, 2010, 2:06 PM ET
Associated Press

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."

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."

Williams will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-4. Peer will face Li Na, who rallied past Marion Bartoli 3-6, 7-5, 6-0.

Other matches went as seeded: Fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and seventh-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska dispatched Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-0.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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