Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe’er reached the semifinals of a tournament in Australia.
Pe’er, ranked 17th in the world, saved five match points Thursday in ousting Russia’s Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10-8), of the Australian Women’s Hardcourt Tournament on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
Pe’er, 20, will face Victoria Azarenko, from Belarus, in Friday’s semifinals.
The Gold Coast tournament is a primer for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the year, which starts Jan. 14 in Melbourne.
Pe’er made history at last year’s Australian Open by becoming the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event. She lost to Serena Williams, who went on to win the title.
Israeli male tennis standout Dudi Sela, was not as fortunate in Australia. On Tuesday he was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by local hero Lleyton Hewitt in a pre-Open tournament in Adelaide, then lost Thursday in the doubles competition.