(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Israel’s final representative at the Challenger tournament in Ra’anana was knocked out on Thursday, with Amir Weintraub losing 6-3, 7-5 in the second round to Michael Berrer of Germany.
Weintraub advanced to the second round despite losing the first set of his opening round showdown against Dudi Sela, with the latter retiring due to illness.
The 28-year-old Weintraub, ranked No. 486 in the world, returned to action last week after more than eight months out due to a thigh injury.
Weintraub was in excruciating pain following the match against Sela and didn’t have enough energy left in the tank to overcome Berrer (164), who also beat Inigo Cervantes (252) in the first round earlier in the day.
The only other Israeli in the second round, 18-year-old wild-card Tal Goldengoren (677), was also sent packing on Thursday, losing 6-1, 6-2 to No. 2 seed Lukas Lacko (99) of Slovakia.
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 on Sunday, to receive $18,000 and 110 ranking points.
Elsewhere, third-seed Andy Murray recovered from an early setback to beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open where he will face Czech Tomas Berdych.
Eighth seed Berdych defeated Argentine Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-4 in their quarterfinal to set up a re-match of their tense and at times acrimonious Australian Open semifinal which Murray won in four sets.
“At the beginning of the match I didn’t return well, especially returning his first serve. That put me in sort of a defensive position a lot when he was serving,” said Murray. “I think in the third set the difference was really my returning. I returned his first serve extremely well. I put him on the back foot.”
Reuters contributed to this report