19-year-old Israeli Tennis Pro Shahar Peer may be ranked 17 in the world, but yesterday she gave Serena Williams a run for her money in the Australian Open. In three sets, she pulled out an impressive 3-6, 6-2, 8-6 in what was to be a very tight match. So close, in fact, that Shahar is now #14 in the world and considered a force to be reckoned with:
The 19-year-old Peer has helped take tennis to new heights in Israel, and she had a small but loyal following of flag-waving fans at Melbourne Park. Her fourth-round upset of 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and her match against Williams were televised live at 4 a.m. in Israel.
The win over Kuznetsova dominated the sports news in Israel, and even put her on the front pages of Monday's newspapers, overshadowing both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the incoming army chief of staff.
And proving she's ever the gracious victor:
"Her performance and her play for all of Israel is great," Williams said. "I couldn't be more happy for her because you have just one person going the lone ride. I think she's doing a great job. "She's obviously a solid player. She obviously has a very bright future. I think Israelis might be up (at) four in the morning a lot more."