Pe’er upsets top seed to advance in Dubai

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Shahar Pe’er upset the top seed to reach the quarterfinals of a tennis tournament in Dubai a year after being denied a visa to compete there.

Competing amid tight security, Pe’er on Wednesday defeated Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, ranked third in the world, 6-2, 7-5, in the third round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

Wozniacki had beaten Pe’er in their three previous matches, including three weeks ago at the Australian Open.  

On Tuesday, Pe’er defeated Virginia Razzano of France, 6-2, 6-2, in slightly over an hour. A day earlier Pe’er, who is ranked No. 22 in the world but is unseeded in the tournament, upset 13th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, to advance. 

The Israeli lost Tuesday in the second round of doubles competition.

Pe’er is restricted to traveling from the tennis courts to her hotel. She is also separated from the rest of the players and has her own dressing room and gym, according to reports. Spectators of Peer’s matches must be screened by metal detectors.

Last year, a day before Pe’er was set to leave for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates denied her a visa. The World Tennis Association fined the tournament organizers $300,000, and secured assurances that Pe’er would be able to participate in this year’s tournament.

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