Shahar Pe’er reclaimed the Israel national title at a brisk and breezy Ramat
Hasharon on Thursday afternoon, beating Julia Glushko 6-3, 5-7, 6- 1 to avenge
last year’s loss and gain much-needed confidence ahead of the start of the new
The wind caused both players to commit far more errors than they
would have liked, but it was Pe’er, ranked No. 74 in the world, who dealt better
with the conditions in the first set, clinching it with four straight
Glushko (176) opened a 3-1 lead in the second set with a love
break, but she would drop her serve twice in a row before breaking Pe’er once
more (4-4). Last year’s champion was gifted the decisive break point by the
chair umpire, who to Shahar’s dismay decided the ball had hit her foot just
before it would have struck the court and been called out.
on to take the second set after a short rain break, but Pe’er channeled her
frustration into inspiration in the third set, racing to a 5-0 lead on the way
to her sixth national title in seven years and eighth in total.
I lost today I would have been pleased because of the process I’m undergoing,”
said a delighted Pe’er, who will begin the new season in a week-and-a-half at
the Shenzhen Open in China. “I’m playing much better now and I know what I’m
doing on court.”
Much of the credit for that goes to coach Pablo
Giacopelli, who renewed his partnership with Pe’er at the end of
Giacopelli and Pe’er first teamed-up in November 2008, splitting
up in July 2010 at a time when the Israel No. 1 was playing some of the best
tennis of her life.
She went on to drop from No. 11 in the world to No.
74, but has now finally regained her passion for the game.
tell how things go, but the most important thing is that the love for the game
is back,” she said. “I’m optimistic because I think I’m heading in the right
direction. It won’t be easy to come back from my current position, but I love
what I’m doing and the results will arrive when they need to
Giacopelli preached for patience. “I hope nobody expects
miracles because this is going to be a long journey,” he insisted. “When I
handed her back over I gave the Empire State Building and now I’ve got a hole in
the floor. We are rebuilding and this takes time. I think today’s victory in
such conditions, and with all that happened in the same tournament last year, is
going to do a lot for her confidence.”
Giacopelli would like Pe’er to
return to the basics. “The way they were making her play in the last two
years was ludicrous,” he claimed. “She was trying to hit winners from everywhere
on the court and play some very low percentage tennis. Now we are focusing more
on using her abilities and her gifts. Taking her chances, but taking her chances
at the right time and not the whole time.”
Dudi Sela (109) will face Amir
Weintraub (194) in the men’s final on Saturday.
Sela beat Harel Srugo
6-3, 6-3 on Thursday, while Weintraub defeated Tal Goldengoren 6-3, 6-2.