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Israeli Peer extends Dubai run to last four; next faces Venus Williams

Shahar Peer has raced into the semifinals in her first appearance in Dubai
Shahar Peer has raced into the semifinals in her first appearance in Dubai
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Israel's Shahar Peer reaches the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championship
  • Peer defeats eighth seed Li Na of China who is forced to quit in the second set
  • Peer has played all her matches on a restricted access outside court amid security fears
  • NEW: Defending champion Venus Williams into semifinals where she will face Peer
RELATED TOPICS
  • Shahar Peer
  • Dubai
  • Israel
  • Tennis
  • Venus Williams

(CNN) -- Israel's Shahar Peer continued her superb run at the Dubai Open by beating Li Na of China to reach the semifinals of the WTA Tier One tournament on Thursday.

Peer progressed to a match-up with Venus Williams as Li, who reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, retired with a back injury when trailing 5-7 0-3.

Peer, who was refused entry to the United Arab Emirates for last year's tournament, is posing a security problem for organizers, who have scheduled her matches on an outside court with restricted access.

With tensions high after last month's assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, placing Peer on the 5,000 capacity Center Court for her last four clash is a step they may be unwilling to take.

Peer, who has been in fine form in 2010, beat top seed Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarterfinals and said after the match that despite the controversies in the past she was receiving a good reception.

"I get really amazing treatment here and they are so nice to me, all the people around me that are taking care of me," she told the official WTA Tour Web site.

I get really amazing treatment here and they are so nice to me, all the people around me that are taking care of me
--Shahar Peer

Against world number 10 Li, she was always on top as she headed for her fourth straight win in the tournament and her first over the highly-rated Chinese player.

Defending champion Venus Williams showed her liking for the venue with a straight sets 6-3 6-4 win over promising young Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in their quarterfinal later on Thursday.

In other quarterfinal action, seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland saw off Russian qualifier Regina Kulikova in three hard-fought sets, 3-6 6-4 6-3.

She will play fourth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaus who brushed aside Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-1 6-3 to reach the last four.