Match Point

Eliana Aponte / Reuters

Call it tennis diplomacy. A lithe, 20-year-old Israeli with sun-streaked hair and a laser-accurate forehand is smashing down one barrier in the Arab-Israeli conflict: the unofficial boycott that has kept Israeli tennis players out of the mega-money tournaments held in the gulf states.

Shahar Peer, ranked 17th on the women's tennis tour, requested a berth in the Qatar Open, which runs from Feb. 18-24 in the capital city, Doha, and offers a $2.5 million purse. To her surprise, Peer found she was pushing against an open door; both the Qatar tournament organizers and the Women's Tennis...

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