Peer advances to Grand Slam final

Shahar Peer became the first Israeli woman to reach a tennis Grand Slam final.

Peer, 20, playing with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, upset Zi Yan and Jie Zheng, 0-6, 7-5, 7-6, in Wednesday’s semifinals of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Peer-Azarenka was seeded 12th, while the Chinese duo was seventh.

Peer and Azarenka will meet the 10th-seeded tandem of Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the doubles final Friday night.

“It’s unbelievable,” an elated Peer told JTA after the semifinal victory, in which her team faced two match points.

“That’s how tennis is – everything can change,” she said. “I’m very excited.”

No Israeli woman has ever won a senior Grand Slam title.

The only Israeli man to have done so is Andy Ram, who won the 2006 mixed doubles at Wimbledon and the 2007 mixed doubles at the French Open.

Ram and his doubles partner, Yoni Erlich, are playing in the semifinals Thursday. The No. 8 seed is facing the sixth-seeded team of India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Bahrain’s Mark Knowles, which upset the top seed, American twins Mike and Bob Bryan, in the quarterfinals.

Peer and Anna Smashnova both won junior Grand Slam titles.

 

 

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