Israel beats Belarus to finish on a high note
By ALLON SINAI
Blue-and-white end Eilat event with win after failing to advance with loss against Poland.
Israel’s Fed Cup team ended its Europe/Africa Zone Group I campaign in Eilat on
Saturday in 5th-6th position after dramatically missing out on advancing to a
tie for a berth in April’s World Group II playoffs the previous day.
national team defeated Belarus 2-0 on Saturday in the positional playoffs,
ending its matches in Eilat on a sweet note after suffering a heartbreaking loss
to Poland on Friday.
Julia Glushko, ranked No. 181 in the world, recorded
an impressive 6- 4, 6-4 win over Urszula Radwanska (37) before Shahar Pe’er (91)
dropped to a 6-2, 6-3 loss to world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska.
came down to the doubles encounter, the winner of which would finish Pool C in
first place after Romania suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Turkey in Friday’s
other pool showdown.
Pe’er and Glushko gave the Radwanska sisters a real
fight, but ultimately lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at 10:40 p.m.
and ended the pool
in second place.
On Saturday, Glushko made it four wins in four singles
matches in Eilat with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Lidziya Marozava (575) and Pe’er
clinched the tie with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Ilona Kremen (243).
disappointed,” said Israel captain Amos Mansdorf after Friday’s loss to Poland.
“Our girls were just as good as the Poles and fought like lions and it’s a shame
Glushko found some consolation in the form she displayed in
“I think I played well, I was consistent and I didn’t have downs
which is great, I have had a wonderful week,” Glushko said.
Rafa Nadal’s comeback continued to gather pace on Friday, with the Spaniard
advancing to the semifinals of the clay event in Vina del Mar, Chile with a 6-1,
6-4 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
The 26-year-old Nadal, whose playing
in his first tournament in seven months, faced France’s Jeremy Chardy in the
semis late Saturday and will continue playing on his favorite clay surface at
two other Latin American events this month, the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo next
week and the Mexico Open in Acapulco from February 25. Nadal also announced on
Saturday that he has set up his own company to manage athletes and organize
events with his long-term agent Carlos Costa.
“Together with his manager,
Carlos Costa, Rafa Nadal began a new adventure on January 1 in the world of
representing athletes of various sports like tennis, golf and football as well
as organizing events,” Nadal’s spokesman said in a brief emailed
Nadal was previously represented by US-based firm IMG, for
whom Costa also worked.
He earned $25 million in endorsements last year
from companies including Kia Motors and Nike, according to Forbes, putting him
equal 16th on the magazine’s list of the world’s highestpaid athletes
(www.forbes.com/athletes/ list/ http://www.forbes.com/athletes/ list/>
IMG spokesman Jim Gallagher confirmed Nadal’s contract with the
company had expired at the end of 2012.
“We are very happy for Rafa and
we wish him the best of luck,” Gallagher said by telephone from New
“We hope to do a lot more business with him in the future,” he
Nadal is the second high-profile tennis player to leave IMG in
Roger Federer, the world No. 2, and his agent Tony Godsick
both severed ties with the firm last year.
Reuters contributed to this