DUBAI // Shahar Peer yesterday achieved what she described as one of her greatest victories after defeating the world No 3 and top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 in the third round of the Dubai Tennis Championship. The Israeli, ranked No 22 in the world, showed fight and determination as she dictated the match, yet her win was aided by her opponent's inability to hold serve.
Having met three times before, Peer had never taken as much as a set off the Dane, including, most recently, a 6-4, 6-0 defeat at last month's Australian Open. Yet yesterday, Peer looked formidable, pushing Wozniacki to break points on all 10 of her service games and breaking the US Open finalist eight times. "When I played her in Australia, I was playing good in the first set, and I had my chances and I didn't take them," said Peer. "So I knew the next time I have to play her, I really needed to take my chances because she never gives up.
"[This time] I think I was really doing what I had to do, dominating the whole time, going up on my shots when I needed to, changing pace when I needed to, changing directions. "You know, whatever I talked to my coach about before, I really did it." Peer was not granted a visa to compete at last year's tournament and has played each of her games so far this week on a low-profile side court amid security concerns.
Yet Peer, 22, said she found extra motivation to succeed in the Emirates because of the surrounding circumstances. "It makes me stronger. I don't know how I find the strength, but [playing here] is very important to me so I am trying to give my best every match and every point," she said. "I am trying to block it out as much as possible and I think I am doing quite a good job. I am really enjoying my time here and hope to stay as long as possible."
Wozniacki, meanwhile, had no complaints, accepting Peer was the better player on the day. "She played really well. I did my best, but it wasn't good enough," said the 19-year-old Dane. "She was changing the rhythm and going in and attacking the balls. I had my chances, but I didn't take them." Peer will now meet Na Li, the Chinese eighth seed, in the quarter-finals. @Email:email@example.com