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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Peer advances despite anti-Israel protests at Auckland

Peer advances despite anti-Israel protests at Auckland

January 06, 2010 11:23 IST

Chanting protestors interrupted Shahar Peer's second round match at the Auckland Classic on Wednesday before the Israeli advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.

Shahar PeerOne of the small group of people, who are protesting against Israel's treatment of Palestinians and have called on Peer to withdraw from the event, was arrested, local media reported.

The 22-year-old Peer was the subject of similar protests outside the Auckland Tennis Centre last year and on Tuesday.

"I think it was really bad, yesterday was a bit better," Peer told reporters. "Today was much louder.

"I guess those people know exactly where to stand so that we can hear them well and it was continual, it didn't stop."

Officials stopped the match after Peer took the first set and discussed for 15 minutes whether or not to continue.

Peer was adamant she wanted to keep playing and subsequently ran out an easy winner as a visibly distracted Rybarikova's resistance collapsed.

"It did encourage me," Peer added. "Like yesterday, when I was hearing that (protests), it made me play better to prove I can also play with the noise.

"They're doing what they want. Everyone can do whatever they want, as long as I'm winning I don't care."

Rybarikova admitted the protests had effected her.

"I have to say it was tough to play during the protest," she said. "I lost the first set because I was not concentrating. I was thinking about that and not my tennis."

Peer will now meet Maria Kirilenko in Thursday's quarter-finals on centre court after the Russian beat Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-2 6-3.

Top seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, who was first up on centre court on Wednesday, also advanced to the last eight with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro and will meet Dominika Cibulkova

The Slovak upset seventh seeded Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 6-3 6-4.

Italian fourth seed Francesca Schiavone, who beat India's Sania Mirza 6-0 6-3, will meet the unseeded Alize Cornet after the Frenchwoman thrashed sixth seed Elena Vesnina, last year's beaten finalist, 6-1 6-1. Belgian third seed Yanina Wickmayer continued her return to the game after having a drug ban overturned with an easy win over Romania's Ioana Olaru and will meet either Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm or French fifth seed Virginie Razzano.

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