Peer, Venus Set to Rumble in Memphis

Posted on February 24, 2007

MEMPHIS, TN, USA - The sparks will fly on Saturday night as two of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest stars do battle for the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & The Cellular South Cup. Shahar Peer and Venus Williams had solid semifinal wins on Friday and will clash for the very first time.

Peer, the top seed at the $175,000, Tier III event, was pushed to the limit in the early semifinal, moving past unseeded American Meilen Tu, 64 75. The pair traded fierce groundstrokes for over two hours before the Israeli teen finally prevailed, improving to 4-0 lifetime against the world's No.70.

"She was playing great today; after some of her shots I wanted to clap for her," Peer said. "On some of the important points I served well and was even able to make some aces. Maybe those were some of the deciding points. I just wanted to get out there and win, no matter how."

After shaking some injury lay-off rust during her first three matches, No.7 seed Williams finally began showing glimpses of the game that has taken her to five majors and the top ranking, breezing past Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru, 63 62.

"Today I was just keeping the pressure on her," said Williams, who had been out of the game for most of the last eight months with a left wrist injury. "I felt a lot more comfortable today and am excited to be in the final."

Peer will be seeking her fourth career title while Williams is in the hunt for her 34th. The Israeli is a perfect 3-0 in finals, capturing Pattaya City, Prague and Istanbul last season; the American is 33-20 in her 53 prior career finals, her titles including the aforementioned majors, one Olympic gold and six Tier Is. Needless to say, both have an incredible amount of confidence in championship bouts.

The doubles title match pits No.4-seeded Australians Nicole Pratt and Bryanne Stewart against Slovak-Japanese pairing Jarmila Gajdosova and Akiko Morigami. Of the four doubles finalists, Pratt has the most prior wins with eight (including one just a few weeks ago at Pattaya City). Stewart has two (both in 2005, with current doubles No.1 Samantha Stosur), while the other finalists each hold one. (ATP)