Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer won her first WTA tournament in four years Saturday, beating 19-year-old Saisai Zheng of China 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to claim the $125,000 Caoxijiu Suzhou Ladies Open.
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Third-seeded Peer, who had slumped to 113 in the world rankings, is expected to climb to 83 on the ATP computer following the sixth tournament victory of her career.
“It was a really difficult match,” she wrote on her Facebook page after the win. “It was as hot as I’ve ever been in my life. We played at 40 degrees Celsius, but it was worth every moment and I’m very happy.”
Peer, who began showing signs of improvement when she reached the final of the Baku Cup two weeks ago only to lose to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, took the first set comfortably after the match had opened with four consecutive service breaks. But Zheng raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set and maintained her lead to level the match.
The eighth game of the final set proved crucial, as Peer broke Zheng’s serve to go 5-3 ahead and serve for the title.
Peer’s next challenge will be to get through the qualifying rounds of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, which begins on August 26.
Israel’s most successful female tennis player’s career has fallen on hard times in recent years, but now she appears to have ended her slump in form of the past two seasons.