(photo credit: NIR KEIDAR/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
The country’s top two players will meet at the Israel Open in Ra’anana for a second straight year on Friday, with Dudi Sela to face Amir Weintraub for a place in the semifinals.
Sela, ranked No. 84 in the world and seeded No. 2, advanced to the last eight with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovenian Blaz Rola (162).
Weintraub came back from a set down for a second straight match, defeating Marsel Ilhan (137) of Turkey 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 after an hour and 46 minutes.
Sela and Weintraub also clashed in Ra’anana last year, with the former retiring after claiming the first set.
Sela, who entered this week’s tournament on the back of his 20th career title on the Challenger circuit in Shenzhen, China, had won all three previous meetings between the two.
Yoni Erlich advanced to the semifinals of the doubles event in Ra’anana with Austrian partner Philipp Oswald on Thursday, beating Daniil Medvedev and Jan Mertl 6-4, 7-5. Next up for the Israeli/Austrian duo is a meeting with Aliaksandr Bury and Adil Shamasdin.
Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic rolled into the Miami Open semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 romp over Tomas Berdych on Wednesday as he continued his pursuit of a fifth title in six years in Key Biscayne.
Djokovic was not challenged in his fourth round match, when he was forced to fend off 14-of-15 break points, while he also attacked Berdych’s second serve to advance in 99 minutes and earn a clash with Belgium’s David Goffin.
Goffin beat France’s Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the day’s other quarterfinal.
Djokovic improved to 26-1 this year with his only defeat coming in February, when he was forced to retire against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in Dubai due to an eye infection.
In the women’s event, Victoria Azarenka withstood some early pressure from Britain’s Johanna Konta to continue her quest for a third Miami Open title with a 6-4, 6-2 quarterfinal victory on Wednesday.
Azarenka, who 10 days earlier beat Serena Williams to win the Indian Wells title in California, was too consistent for the 24th-seeded Konta to keep alive her bid to capture the second half of the Sunshine Double.
She next faces second seed Angelique Kerber, who beat American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2.Reuters contributed to this report.