Dementieva accomplishes on court what anti-Israeli protestors can't

Elena DementievaAuckland - Top seed Elena Dementieva accomplished what around 20 protestors could not as she sent Israeli Shahar Peer out in the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic on Thursday.

Peer, who underwent Israeli military training which took time away from her tennis in recent season, had been the target of protests against her country's current invasion of Gaza in the Middle East, but had insisted that the political situation had nothing to do with her tennis.

But she didn't have long to ponder the situation as she lost in a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 to Olympic champion Dementieva, ranked fourth in the world.

The brief protest interlude ended early in the match as Dementieva got down to business. "I'm sure it was a tough day for her because of the situation in her country," said the Russian. "I know she can play better tennis next week."

Added Peer: "I'm not the government of Israel and I'm not representing Israel as a politician."

Dementieva next takes on France's Aravane Rezai, losing finalist a year ago, who defeated Romanian Edina Gallovits 6-3, 6-2.

Beleaguered British tennis got a confidence boost as Anne Keothavong advanced to the final four, her second after Calcutta two years ago. The player with Laotian heritage won the first set 6-0 over Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita, with her opponent quitting due to a hamstring problem.

Second seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lost in an upset 6-3, 0-6, 6-3, t0 Russian Elena Vesnina. (dpa)