Shahar's Emotional Debut
Published February 15, 2010 12:00
DUBAI, UAE - A year after the controversy that rocked the tennis world, Shahar Peer made an emotional and successful debut in Dubai, upsetting one of the hottest players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in the first round.
Peer, ranked No.22, rebounded from losing the first set and rallied from a hefty third set deficit to beat No.13 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 36 62 75. Wickmayer, who started the year with an 11-match win streak, led 4-2 in the decider and held points for 5-2 before the Israeli surged, taking five of the last six games.
"Yanina is a great player and she is playing so well. I lost against her in Auckland," Peer said. "It was a great match to win. Obviously, all the girls here are very tough, so every round will be tough and I will try to do my best."
Last year, due to the lack of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Peer's visa was denied at the last minute, thus preventing her from competing at the Premier-level tournament. The rules were amended almost immediately, allowing Peer entry this year. And what a start.
"It doesn't really matter how well I played. To win today, for me, was so important. I'm really happy I did it. That's why I was screaming so much at the end after I won the match. It was a very, very tough first round match and I am so happy that I won. It was important for me and I am really excited."
Wickmayer wasn't the only seed to go out. No.9 seed Samantha Stosur lost to Tathiana Garbin, 36 62 76(4), and No.15 seed Nadia Petrova lost in two tie-breaks to Swiss wildcard Stefanie Voegele, 76(5) 76(5). No.10 seed Flavia Pennetta and No.12 seed Vera Zvonareva both moved on, although Zvonareva almost lost a day after winning Pattaya City, rallying from 1-4 in the third to beat Elena Vesnina, 64 46 75. Highlights: Garbin vs. Stosur