(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Amir Weintraub advanced to the second round of the Challenger tournament in Ra’anana on Wednesday, after Dudi Sela retired following the first set of their showdown.
The 28-year-old Weintraub was playing just his second match since losing in the first round of the Wimbledon qualifiers in June 2014, after falling in the opening round of the $10,000 Futures circuit event in Ramat Hasharon last week.
Weintraub dropped to No. 486 in the world as a result of his long-term absence through a thigh injury and entered Wednesday’s match with low expectations. However, after claiming the first set 7-6 (5), Sela (112), still limited by the illness which has plagued him this, choose to retire, gifting his Davis Cup teammate a second round berth.
Weintraub will next face the winner of Thursday’s first round match between Micheal Berrer (164) and Inigo Cervantes (252).
Only one more Israeli made it through to the second round, with 18-year-old wild card Tal Goldengoren (677) stunning Romania’s Adrian Ungur (162) 6-3, 6-4 in first round action on Tuesday. Goldengoren will hope to build on the biggest win of his career to date when he faces No. 2 seed Lukas Lacko (99) of Slovakia in the second round on Thursday.
Bar Botzer (888), who also received a wild card, was knocked out in the first round on Wednesday by No. 3 seed Blaz Rola (101), losing 6-3, 6-2.
No. 1 seed Blaz Kavcic (88) of Slovenia made it through safely to the second round, beating Igor Sijsling 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
The $125,000 tournament in Ra’anana is the biggest to be held in the country in many years, with the winner of the event, which ends next Sunday, to receive $18,000 and 110 ranking points.
Elsewhere, defending champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare from Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals, while Andy Murray won the 500th match of his career to reach the last eight.
Djokovic was made to work for his 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-0 win over world number 65 Dolgopolov and will next play Spaniard David Ferrer.