(photo credit: NIR KEIDAR/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
After a one-year break, Shahar Pe’er and Julia Glushko will renew their rivalry in the final of the Israel national tennis championships on Friday, while Dudi Sela will be confident of defending his title in the men’s final against 17-year-old Edan Leshem.
Pe’er, ranked No. 117 in the world, dueled with Glushko (154) in the the title match four years in a row before Shahar was forced to miss last year’s championships through injury.
Pe’er cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over last year’s finalist, Ofri Lankri, in the semis on Thursday, while an under-the-weather Glushko battled to a 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 victory over Deniz Khazaniuk (380).
“I’m happy to be playing Shahar in the final again,” said Glushko. “Hopefully I feel a little better on Friday.”
Glushko won the title in 2013 and 2011, while Pe’er is targeting her ninth national championship overall and seventh in the past nine years.
Sela (99) will be a firm favorite to win his second straight title and fifth overall when he comes up against Leshem.
Sela needed just 40 minutes to defeat Gilad Berman 6-1, 6-0 while Leshem (1,221) continued his superb run in Ra’anana by beating Dekel Bar (719) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
“I’m very excited to be in the final,” said Leshem, who entered the national championships in excellent form after claiming three consecutive ITF Junior events in Ra’anana, Haifa and Kiryat Shmona.
“Last year I lost to Dudi in the early rounds and now I have a chance to meet him in the final.”