Israeli top seed Shahar Peer, a first-round loser in her past four events, moved into the quarter-finals of a US$220,000 WTA hardcourt tournament on Thursday in quest of a sixth career title.
Peer saved all six break points she faced to beat Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1, 6-4 and advanced to a last-eight meeting with Italian eighth seed Alberta Brianti, who eliminated American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-2.
“It would mean a lot,” Peer said of a title this week. “I’m the favorite, but there are a lot of very good girls now.”
Peer, who won her most recent WTA titles in 2009 at Guangzhou and Tashkent, was one victory shy of cracking the top 10 in April, but lost five matches in a row and slid from a career high No. 11 to No. 24 in the rankings.
“It was tough the last few months for me. I didn’t play really well,” Peer said. “I changed a lot of things in my game and these past two matches, I’ve played a whole lot better.”
The biggest change was making Harold Solomon her new coach.
“Harold was telling me after the match, it was my best second set he has seen since he started working with me,” she said. “It’s the old Shahar Peer.”
Canada’s Stephanie Dubois -advanced to her first WTA quarter-final in six years by rallying to oust Britain’s Heather Watson 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. She will face Austrian third seed Tamira Paszek, who beat American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1.
“It’s nice to be in the quarters. I hope to go further,” Dubois said. “I feel pretty good. I have been playing pretty well the past couple of weeks.”
Dubois, who reached her only other WTA quarter-final in 2005 in Quebec City, was a lucky loser who made it to the second round at Wimbledon, and her two WTA triumphs this week matched her total for the past 18 months.
“I think it’s confidence,” Dubois said. “I’m having fun on the court, playing aggressive and taking risks.”
Dubois, a 24-year-old from suburban Montreal, denied Watson on 12 of 17 break chances and broke the Briton in the 11th game of the second set and the first and third games of the last set on her way to victory in 2 hours, 40 minutes.
“I never gave up,” Dubois said. “She was playing well. I stayed aggressive and I managed to play more aggressively in the second set. She is consistent, so I knew I had to make something.”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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