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Tennis: Sela, Weintraub advance in Aussie Open
By ALLON SINAI
10/01/2013
Sela will play Igor Kunitsyn (162) for a place in the third and final round of the qualifiers.
 
Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub safely navigated the first round of the Australian Open qualifiers on Wednesday, closing to within two victories of a place in the main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.

Sela, ranked No. 114 in the world and seeded No. 3 in the qualifying tournament in Melbourne, advanced to the second round after just 42 minutes, with opponent Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol (178) retiring when trailing 6-1, 4-1.

Sela will play Igor Kunitsyn (162) for a place in the third and final round of the qualifiers on Thursday.

Unlike Sela, Weintraub (196) was made to sweat for two hours and 46 minutes by Wayne Odesnik (145) before progressing to the next round with a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 victory.

Weintraub, who is hoping to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career, will face Radu Albot (220) in the second round on Thursday.

Also Thursday, Israel’s Julia Glushko (177) will play Mariana Dugue-Marino (144) in the first round of the women’s qualifiers.

Elsewhere on the courts, top seed John Isner was knocked out of the Sydney International by compatriot Ryan Harrison on Wednesday but at least he got out on court on a day when injury withdrawals continued to ravage Australian Open warm-up tournaments.

Second seed Gilles Simon earlier pulled out before his last 16 match in Sydney with a neck injury, while Kei Nishikori and world number nine Janko Tipsarevic became the second and third players to quit the eight-man field at the Kooyong Classic.

World No. 13 Isner was hampered by the bone bruise to his right leg that ended his participation in the Hopman Cup last week and the 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Harrison left him thinking about pulling out of the Australian Open becasue of his latest frustrating injury “It’s better. Definitely better than I thought, but it’s not 100 percent,” he told reporters. “I don’t know. I got a decision to make shortly.

“Certainly I could win a match maybe, a match or two. I don’t see myself winning the whole tournament at this point, that’s for sure.”

Simon’s withdrawal followed those of compatriots Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, who pulled out because of a hamstring injury and for “personal reasons,” respectively.

“The week before the slams, players don’t want to take any risks, which is normal but sad also for this one because Sydney is a very nice tournament and deserves to have a very nice draw,” 2011 Sydney champion Simon said.

“We just try the maximum to be ready... I mean, for me today, there is no point in me going out and losing 6-2, 6-2 playing 50 percent.”

Reuters contributed to this report.
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