Security fears force Peer to play Dubai semi-final on outside court

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The Independent Online

It will be played in front of one of the smallest crowds ever to watch a semi-final of such importance, but organisers of the Dubai championships confirmed last night that Shahar Peer's next match here today will again be staged on an outside court.

The world No 22, who is the first Israeli woman to play in the United Arab Emirates, is escorted everywhere by bodyguards and for security reasons has played all her matches away from the main stadium. Previous semi-finals at one of the most prestigious and richest events on the women's tour have been played on the 5,000-capacity centre court, but Peer will face Venus Williams on Court Two. It has seating for just 440 spectators.

"I'm not controlling it. I'm doing what I've been told and wherever I need to play I'll play," said Peer, who progressed after China's Li Na witdrew with a back injury when 7-5, 3-0 down.

* Britain's Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong maintained their progress in the Memphis tournament, recording straight-sets victories over Valérie Tétreault and Michelle Larcher de Brito respectively.

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