Tennis: Sela, Weintraub advance to Australian Open
Israel has two men in a main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2008.
Dudi Sela Photo: Asaf Kliger
For the first time in five years two Israeli men will be part of a Grand Slam
singles main draw after both Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub qualified for the
Australian Open on Saturday.
Sela, ranked No. 114 in the world and seeded
No. 3 in the qualifiers, will play Russian Nikolay Davydenko (40) in the first
round in Melbourne after coming back from a set down to beat German Michael
Berrer (135) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and one minute in the third round of the
Sela will be playing in the main draw of the season’s first
Grand Slam event for the seventh straight year, but will be looking to progress
past the first round for the first time since 2009.
Should he manage to
beat Davydenko, who reached the final in Doha last week, he will likely face
Roger Federer in the second round.
“It was very important for me to reach
the main draw,” said Sela, who won 18 of 25 net points against Berrer. “The
Israeli fans really helped me. I didn’t play my best tennis, but I’m happy with
Weintraub (196) advanced to the main draw of a Grand Slam
tournament for the first time in his career with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Diego
Sebastian Schwartzman (179) and will face another Argentinian in Guido Pella
(96) in the first round.
A victory for Weintraub would see him next face
the winner of the first-round match between Steve Darcis and No. 17 seed Philipp
“I’m delighted this has finally happened,” said
The last time two Israeli men played in the main draw of a
major was in the 2008 Australian Open when Harel Levy came through the singles
qualifiers to join Sela.
On Friday, Julia Glushko (177) was knocked out
in the second round of the women’s qualifiers, losing 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Tereza
Shahar Pe’er (73), who has lost her first two matches of
the season to players ranked outside the top-100, was drawn to play Russian
Alexandra Panova (93) in the first round in Melbourne, Should Pe’er claim her
first win of the year and progress past the first round of the Australian Open
for the fourth straight time she will play the winner of the match between No.
12 seed Nadia Petrova and Kimiko Date-Krumm.