(photo credit: Reuters)
Emotions were running higher than usual at the typically sleepy Israel tennis
championships on Wednesday, with Shahar Pe’er finally settling an old score with
former Fed Cup teammate Deniz Khazniuk.
Pe’er dismantled Khazniuk 6-0,
6-1 in 42 minutes to set up a showdown with Julia Glushko in the final for a
fourth straight year. However, her reaction after the win completely
overshadowed the one-sided match at Ramat Hasharon.
Pe’er refused to
shake Khazniuk’s hand at the net and shouted towards her that she is a “disgrace
to the State of Israel” after she harshly criticized Shahar and the Fed Cup team
in an interview with Ma’ariv more than 10 months ago.
Pe’er as “one big bluff” and claimed that the Fed Cup squad mistreated her and
didn’t behave professionally during February’s Europe/Africa Zone Group I
matches in Eilat.
Pe’er declined to comment at the time, but she was
clearly just waiting for the right moment to fire back, eventually doing so in
front of only a few dozen spectators in Ramat Hasharon, but loud enough so that
her words could be heard by all in attendance, including the TV cameras and
“I talk on court and not in the newspapers,” Pe’er said. “I
had nothing against her. I helped her in the Fed Cup, but she decided to attack
the team, the association and me in particular.”
Khazniuk didn’t seem to
take Pe’er’s outburst to heart.
“I understand that she is angry at me and
I expected something like this,” said the 18-year-old Khazniuk, who is ranked at
No. 555 in the world.
“I didn’t react because I knew that she was talking
Pe’er (74) lost the national title for the first time in six
years when she was beaten by Glushko (176) last December, but she is entering
Thursday’s final in a confident mood after reuniting with coach Pablo
The women’s final was brought forward by 24 hours due to the
stormy weather expected on Friday.
The men’s final was postponed from
Friday to Saturday.
“The two matches on Tuesday got me going and I played
much better against Khazniuk,” Pe’er said. “I’m feeling good with myself. I’m
happy that I’m improving and I hope that I’ll play even better in the
Glushko progressed to her fourth consecutive final with a 6-3,
6-1 win over Keren Shlomo (471).
Former winner Amir Weintraub (194)
survived a scare to advance to the men’s semifinals on Wednesday, beating
17-year-old Igor Smilansky 3- 6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in two hours and 10
Weintraub faces Tal Goldengoren in Thursday’s semis after the
latter defeated Dekel Bar 6-3, 6-3 in the quarters.
Dudi Sela (109)
thrashed Or Ram- Harel 6-2, 6-1 to progress to the last four where he will play
Harel Srugo, who beat Dor Belfer 6-3, 6-0.