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Williams to meet Azarenka in Dubai final

February 20, 2010 09:39 IST

Holder Venus Williams ended Shahar Peer's run by sweeping past the unseeded Israeli 6-1, 6-4 on Friday to reach the final of the Dubai Championships.

The third-seeded American next meets Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who defeated Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-4.

Playing on a side court because of the security concerns which have surrounded Peer all week, Williams quickly stamped her authority on a strangely ineffective opponent who had beaten three seeds on her way to the semi-finals.

Williams broke for a 2-0 lead when Peer made a backhand error and then for 4-0 when the Israeli double-faulted.

An exchange of breaks in the next two games left Williams serving for the set which she closed out with a beautifully executed forehand winner down the line.

A fourth double-fault gave the American a break for 1-0 in the second set but Peer hit back to level at 2-2 and then dug deep to fend off five break points in a nine-deuce game to hold for 3-2.

Even though her reprieve was short, with Williams breaking again to lead 4-3, Peer held five break points to recover the break before the defending champion held for 5-3.


Peer battled to the end, saving three match points before netting a backhand on the fourth.

"I started well and felt like I was playing very aggressively and just basically taking a lot of time away from her," Williams told reporters.

"Then she also made some loose shots but also most likely because of my play."

Peer, who was kept separate from the other players and given tight security during her stay in the Gulf emirate, had nothing but positive reflections on one of the most successful weeks of her career.

"It was a different experience but a nice one," she said. "I'm sure I will remember this tournament for the rest of my life.

"There are no complaints. I think I achieved a lot in this tournament professionally and also mentally for myself. I think I've been going through a lot of things and I'm really happy how I managed this week."

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates which, like most Arab countries, has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state and Israelis are routinely denied entry.

Fourth seed Azarenka's all-court game and ability to hit deep gave her the advantage over Radwanska and she tied up the opening set by winning the last two games to love.

Radwanska was more adventurous in the second and after breaking serve in the third game went on to lead 3-1.

Azarenka though recovered to win the last four games, levelling at 4-4 with a stop volley and breaking again for the match when seventh seed Radwanska netted a forehand.

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