Shahar Pe'er (born May 1, 1987, Jerusalem, Israel) is a 1.71 m (5' 7") right-handed professional female tennis player. On January 29, 2007, she achieved her highest WTA ranking of # 15, and (together with Anna Smashnova) became the highest ranked Israeli tennis singles player ever.
Pe'er started her competitive tennis career at the age of six, and won her first title at the age of 12 when she captured the Eddie Herr International Doubles title with Nicole Vaidišová (later her vanquished foe in the 2004 Australian Open junior's final). She reached the Eddie Herr singles final as well.
In the Fall of 2001, Pe'er took first place in the Nike Junior Tour International Masters tennis tournament in the Bahamas, and soon became the youngest Israeli tennis player ever to win the Israeli women's tennis championship. It was also in late 2001, that Pe'er won the 55th annual Ericsson Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships under-14 girls' title without dropping a single set, competing with 127 girls in what is considered the unofficial world championships for youth.
In March 2002 Pe'er won the Bat Yam International singles title, and was a doubles finalist. In April, she was victorious at the Haifa International doubles event and in March of the following year, won the Aamata Cup in Thailand.
Pe'er's first major accomplishment came in the 2004 Australian Open, where she won the juniors' championship, beating her partner turned nemesis, Nicole Vaidišová 6-1, 6-4, in the final.
As a 19-year-old, Pe'er joined the Israeli military, as military service is mandatory in Israel. She especially enjoyed her elementary combat training, where she excelled in rifle marksmanship.When not abroad participating in tennis tournaments, she spends her mornings working as an administrative secretary for the Israeli military, and her afternoons practicing tennis.
Pe'er turned professional in 2004, a year during which she played both the ITF Circuit and the WTA Tour.
In 2005 Pe'er first played the main draw of a Grand Slam event, reaching the third round in both the French Open and the U.S. Open. Pe'er finished 2005 ranked 45 in the world.
In January 2006 in Canberra, Australia, she lost a marathon semi-final match against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues that lasted 3 hours and 45 minutes, with a scoreline of 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-4.
In May 2006 she stunned world # 15 Anna-Lena Grönefeld of Germany in the semi-finals 6-0, 6-2, and then upset world # 12 Anastasia Myskina of Russia, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win in the finals of a level III event in Turkey.
At the 2006 French Open, Pe'er defeated world # 8 Elena Dementieva of Russia in the round of 32, 6-4, 7-5, but lost to Martina Hingis, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, in their fourth-round match. In August she defeated Myskina in three sets again, this time 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4, in Montreal.
Pe'er reached the fourth round of the 2006 U.S. Open, defeating world # 15 Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(3) along the way, but fell to Justine Henin Hardenne, 6-0, 6-1.
Pe'er finished 2006 ranked 20th in the world, after winning her first three WTA singles titles that year in Pattaya, Prague, and Istanbul.
In an Australian warm-up to the Open, in January 2007 Pe'er defeated world # 14 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. In a second warm-up tournament she beat world # 9 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
At the 2007 Australian Open, Pe'er made history by becoming the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event. In the 4th round she defeated world # 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 6-2. In the quarterfinal she was defeated by eventual champion Serena Williams, 3-6, 6-2, 8-6. The following week Pe'er achieved her highest singles rank to date - world # 15.
In March 2007 at Indian Wells, she defeated world # 11 Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 6-4, 7-6 (2), before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual winner Daniela Hantuchova. The following month at the Miami Masters, Pe'er made it to her first Tier 1 tournament semifinals. In the 4th round, Pe'er again defeated Kuznetsova, now ranked # 3 in the world, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. In the quarterfinals Pe'er defeated Tathiana Garbin easily, 6-0, 6-3. In the semifinals she was defeated again by eventual champion Serena Williams, 7-6, 6-1.
At the 2007 Rome Masters, Pe'er was defeated in the 3rd round, again by Serena Williams, 6-3, 6-3. It was her fourth career loss to Williams, and the third in 2007. After beating Kuznetsova twice earlier in 2007, she met Kuznetsova for the third time at the fourth round of the French Open. Kuznetsova won, 6-4, 6-3.
Pe'er's impressive year soured with a disappointing appearance in Wimbledon in early July. She lost 6-3, 6-2 in the third round to eventual runner-up Marion Bartoli. This was followed by three tournaments in California (Bank of the West Classic, Acura Classic and JPMorgan Chase Open) in which Pe’er was seeded, but was ousted by an unseeded player in either the first or second round. In late August, at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Pe'er managed to pass the first two rounds, only to be ousted again by unseeded Virginie Razzano 6-4, 6-3.
Pe’er went into the 2007 US Open seeded 18th, and suffering from a chest injury. She beat Americans Meilen Tu and Bethanie Mattek, world # 15 Czech Nicole Vaidišová (becoming the first Israeli woman to advance to the Round of 16 at the US Open), and Agnieszka Radwa?ska from Poland to reach her first U.S Open and second Grand Slam quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals she lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, to world # 6 Anna Chakvetadze.
Following her successful appearance at the U.S. Open, Pe’er again struggled. She lost in the second round at Luxembourg and at Stuttgart and fell in the quarterfinals of a Teir III event in Bangkok. Her return to center stage at the Zurich Open was again cut short with a first round loss. Finishing as a doubles runner-up in Luxembourg (partnering the Belarusian, Victoria Azarenka) helped Pe'er achieve a career-high doubles ranking of 25 on October 1st.
Pe'er finished 2007 ranked 17th in the world. During the year she archived a career-high ranking for both singles (# 15) and doubles (# 25), as well as career-best performances in Grand Slam and Tier I events.
Pe'er opened 2008 with a semi-finals appearance at the 2008 Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts where she lost to eventual runner-up Victoria Azarenka, 6–4 6–2. Week later, Pe'er lost again to eventual runner-up, this time to # 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6–3 6–4.
At the 2008 Australian Open, Pe'er was seeded # 17. She lost 6–2 6–0 in the third round to # 11 Elena Dementieva. In the doubles tournament, Pe'er and her partner, Victoria Azarenka, was seeded # 12. They got to final, where they lost to Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko 2–6 6–1 6–4. Following her first doubles Grand Slam final appearance Pe'er achieve a career-high doubles ranking of 16.
Late February, Pe'er became the first Israeli to compete in a WTA Tour event in the Arabian Peninsula when she reached the third round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.
Pe'er is 19-12 in Fed Cup matches for Israel in 2002-08, having won 11 of her last 14 singles matches.