Tennis / Peer Lambastes Rival Who Insulted Her in Media

'She is one big fake," Deniz Khazanuik tells reporter earlier this year. Peer refused to shake her hand after defeating her 6-0, 6-1 at the woman's singles semifinals of the Israel Open tournament.

Rami Hipsh
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Shahar Peer refused to shake the hand of her opponent, Deniz Khazaniuk, after defeating her rival 6-0, 6-1 at the women's singles semifinals of the Israel Open in Ramat Hasharon.

"You're an embarrassment to the State of Israel," Peer told the 17-year-old. According to several reports, Peer also made a sign to Khazaniuk to be quiet.

The two have been at odds since Khazaniuk granted an interview to Maariv newspaper earlier this year, in which she levied harsh criticism against Peer and the rest of her teammates on the Fed Cup national squad.

"She's one big fake," Israel's fourth-highest rated women's tennis player said at the time about the country's biggest tennis star. Khazaniuk rated Peer low on a personal level and said she was just like fellow team member Julia Glushko.

"They only belittled me and criticized me all the time," she said. "They humiliated me. That is not the way a national team should be handled. It's the way you do things in the neighborhood," added Khazaniuk in the wake of Israel's Fed Cup loss to Portugal.

Peer had not responded publicly to Khazaniuk until yesterday. "I expected this, and I'm not angry," said Khazaniuk.

In the women's final, which was moved up to today because of concerns about rain, Peer will face Glushko, who defeated Keren Shlomo 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal yesterday.

The men's final is scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon as planned.

In the men's quarterfinals yesterday, Amir Weintraub lost the first set to Igor Smilansky and needed to win a tiebreaker in the second set before advancing 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. In the semifinals he will meet Tal Goldengoren, who defeated Dekel Bar 6-3, 6-3. Dudi Sela overwhelmed Or Ram Harel 6-2, 6-1, and will face Harel Srugo, who beat Dor Balfour 6-3, 6-0.

Shahar PeerCredit: AP