JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Shahar Pe’er has advanced to the semifinals of a tennis tournament in Dubai.
Pe’er defeated eighth-seeded Na Li in the quarterfinals Thursday of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. Pe’er was leading 7-5, 3-0 when the the Chinese player withdrew due to back pain.
She will face third-seeded Venus Williams of the United States in Friday’s semifinals. Williams topped unseeded Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-4, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Pe’er, who is ranked 22nd in the world but was unseeded in the tournament, has been competing amid tight security. She missed the tournament last year after being denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates.
The Israeli standout upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the quarterfinals.
Pe’er has been restricted to traveling from the tennis courts to her hotel due to concern for her safety in the Muslim country. 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.