Dudi Sela will be hoping to claim his second title of the year on the Challenger circuit on Sunday when he faces German Benjamin Becker in the final of the Istanbul Cup.

Sela, ranked No. 94 in the world, thrashed Teymuraz Gabashvili (136) 6-2, 6-0 in the semis on Saturday and will be aiming to record his first career win against Becker (105) after losing to the German in their previous two meetings.

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After missing Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Sela has ensured himself direct entry to the main draw of the US Open.

For the first time in 15 years, Israel didn’t have any representatives in the singles tournaments of a Grand Slam event at Wimbledon last month after Shahar Pe’er, Julia Glushko, Sela and Amir Weintraub all failed to qualify.

Pe’er’s hopes of reaching a first WTA Tour semifinal since last January were dashed on Friday with a 6-0, 7-5 defeat to Alexandra Cadantu in the Budapest Grand Prix quarterfinals.

The 26-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 162 in the world, advanced to just her second quarterfinal in 18 months in Budapest, but was denied a semi berth by Cadantu (80) for the second time this year after also falling at the hands of the Romanian in the last eight in Katowice, Poland in April.

Friday’s defeat means that Pe’er will have to come through the qualifiers to avoid missing out on the US Open main draw for the first time since 2004.

Pe’er failed to qualify for Wimbledon last month, missing her first major since the 2009 French Open, which she sat out due to injury.

It was just the second Grand Slam main draw Pe’er had failed to reach in the past 34 played since making her debut at Roland Garros eight years ago.

Glushko, who leapfrogged Pe’er as the Israel No. 1 last month, edged closer to entering the world’s top 100 for the first time on Friday after progressing to the semifinals of the Yakima ITF event in Washington state.

Glushko, who catapulted to a career high of No. 105 last week after winning the ITF tournament in Waterloo, Canada, beat Ashley Weinhold 6-3, 6-2 and played Nicole Gibbs in the semis late Saturday night.
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