Morita Ousts Kvitova, Peer Wins

Ayumi Morita beat the hottest player on the WTA. Shahar Peer made a winning return to Dubai.

Published February 15, 2011 12:00

Morita Ousts Kvitova, Peer Wins
Ayumi Morita

DUBAI, UAE - Having made news around the world a year ago by reaching the semifinals here, Shahar Peer got off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this year, beating María José Martínez Sánchez.

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Peer, the No.9 seed this week, survived a tough opening set against the crafty Spaniard but then cruised for a 64 61 win, never facing a break point in the second set and winning twice as many points in that second set (28 to 14).

"Obviously I played well here last year, so when you go back to a tournament you played well at, you want to repeat it," Peer said. "I don't know if I'm going to go that deep. Maybe I'm going to go deeper, which I wish I would."

Peer is currently No.11, the highest ranking ever for an Israeli. "I hope to keep going," the 23-year-old said. "I said at the beginning of the year, getting to the Top 10 would be a realistic goal. I also want to have better results in the Grand Slams. There is where you get your most points. That's where you improve."

No.11 seed Flavia Pennetta and No.12 seed Kaia Kanepi also won in straight sets. Pennetta had a 62 62 win over Jelena Dokic, a quarterfinalist in Paris.

"Jelena can play really good tennis, but she can make a lot of mistakes too," Pennetta said. "In a good week, she's really, really dangerous for everyone, but today she didn't do that. It was really windy outside too. I came here directly from Australia - I've been here six days. It was always windy."

There was a pair of surprises as No.13 seed Petra Kvitova and No.14 seed Ana Ivanovic both lost. Kvitova, who won her third and biggest career WTA title last week in Paris, was the first to go, losing to Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita, 76(2) 76(3); in the night match, Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder rallied from a 64 31 deficit to beat former No.1 Ivanovic, 46 76(2) 62.

"I'm happy the way I came back," Schnyder, one of nine thirtysomethings in the Top 100, said. "You have to play well to beat a player like Ana. I stuck to my game plan and played the way I wanted to; it turned out the way I wanted it to.

"The competition in the women's game is huge."

After losing the first set, Kvitova led 5-3 in the second set with two set points, but Morita came back to close it out in straight sets. Morita scored her second and best career Top 20 win over the No.14-ranked Czech left-hander.

Wrapping up the first round winners were Andrea Petkovic, Yanina Wickmayer, Jarmila Groth, Tsvetana Pironkova, Klara Zakopalova, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Zheng Jie, Anna Chakvetadze, Peng Shuai and Sania Mirza. Chakvetadze set up a second round clash with No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki (read more about that match here).

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