As the on-court temperature again climbed into triple digits, the pressure mounted on top-seeded Shahar Peer. Having advanced through the Citi Open with little resistance, the 24-year-old Israeli was thumped in the first set and two points from seeing her tournament come to an end.
But with third-seeded Tamira Paszek serving for the match, Peer was resilient. She kept pounding groundstrokes, pulled out a tiebreaker and ground out a 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 victory in a semifinal match Saturday at the Tennis Center in College Park.
"I always say I like the heat; it didn't affect me at all," Peer said. "I said to myself that I needed to keep going. I was jumping around and I felt good."
Peer advanced to today's 1 p.m. title match, where she will play second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia. Petrova, who played past 12:30 Saturday morning in her quarterfinal victory, rallied to beat Irina Falconi, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, in the other semifinal.
Today's winner will earn $37,000, while the loser will take home $19,000.
Peer had arrived in Washington on a five-match losing streak. Now she is aiming for an equally long winning streak. It is her first tournament final appearance this season.
"Obviously, it's good, feeling great to win four matches in a row and so many months I didn't do that," Peer said. "I want to keep going. It all depends on me. It was a great win, a very tough one."
Two hours later, Peer was back on the court, playing in a doubles semifinal with partner Sloane Stephens. Peer's second outing was not as successful, as she and Stephens lost to the top-seeded doubles team of Sania Mirza and Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-0, 6-1, in 35 minutes.
"It's not that easy to play three hours in the heat and come out and play," Peer said after her doubles loss.
It was quite a 24 hours for Paszek. The 20-year-old Austrian played the WTA Tour's second-longest match this year on Friday, outlasting Stephanie Dubois in a third-set tiebreaker. That match took 3 hours, 42 minutes — longest among tour matches with a third-set tiebreak — and did not finish until close to 11 p.m.
She grabbed some cold pasta in the clubhouse and made it back to her hotel room by 1:30 a.m. Thirteen hours later, she was back on the court.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun