Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub closed to within a single victory of a place in the
Australian Open main draw on Thursday, advancing to the third and final round of
the qualifying tournament in Melbourne.
Sela, ranked No. 114 in the world
and seeded No. 3 in the qualifiers, needed one hour and eight minutes to beat
Igor Kunitsyn (162) 6-2, 6-3, losing just 12 points on his serve throughout the
match and never facing a break point.
Sela will play Michael Berrer (135)
for a place in the main draw on Saturday, with the German winning their only
previous career meeting in Brisbane two years ago.
Weintraub (196), who
is looking to reach a main draw of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his
career, will face Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (179) of Argentina on Saturday
after claiming a second straight three-set win on Thursday.
defeated Radu Albot (220) 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and 12 minutes, winning
12 of the final 14 games to progress to the third round of the qualifiers in a
major for the first time ever.
Israel also had success in the women’s
qualifiers on Thursday, with Julia Glushko (177) beating Mariana Dugue-Marino
(144) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to advance to the second round.
Glushko will play
Tereza Mrdeza (219) for a place in the third round on Friday.
Agnieszka Radwanska needed eight match points to finish off Li Na on Thursday
but confirmed her fine pre-Australian Open form by maintaining her perfect start
to the year and reaching the final of the Sydney International.
Polish top seed was well worth the 6-3, 6-4 win over her Chinese opponent and
will face Dominika Cibulkova in Friday’s final after the Slovakian stunned
German second seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
“I think I was really
playing good tennis the last couple of days,” said Radwanska, who also won the
Auckland Classic last week and has started the year with eight straight wins. “I
hope I can continue playing at this level.”
David Ferrer has played six
fewer matches than Radwanska this year but really hit his stride on Thursday
when he swept aside Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-1 to remain on course for a fourth title
at the Auckland Open.
The Spaniard, who like Radwanska will be seeded
fourth at Melbourne Park next week, needed just 54 minutes to beat his Slovak
opponent and set up a semifinal against France’s Gael Monfils, who later beat
Tommy Haas 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Reuters contributed to this report