Dudi Sela (right) and Deniz Khazaniuk (left) hold their trophies after claiming their respective Israel national tennis championship titles..
(photo credit: ALEX GOLDENSTEIN/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Deniz Khazaniuk’s Fed Cup debut ended in defeat on Wednesday night, with the 22-year-old Israeli losing 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria in the blue-and-white’s opening tie of Europe/Africa Zone Group I action in Tallinn, Estonia.
Khazaniuk, who claimed her maiden national title in December, wasn’t called up to the Israel squad in the past four years following her fall out with Shahar Pe’er and Julia Glushko.
With Pe’er no longer part of the team, captain Tzipi Obziler and the Israel Tennis Association chose to wipe the slate clean, with Khazaniuk currently Israel’s second highest ranked player at No. 249.
However, Khazaniuk couldn’t get her Fed Cup career off to a winning start on Wednesday, losing to world No. 150 Tomova after two hours and 34 minutes.
Israel’s No. 1 Julia Glushko (193) evened the tie at 1-1 with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Elitsa Kostova (132).
The decisive doubles match between Glushko and Shelly Krolitzky and Bulgaria’s Kostova and Sesil Karatantcheva ended late Wednesday night.
Israel also faces Estonia on Thursday and Serbia on Friday in Pool D action.
The team in first place will play on Saturday for a place in the World Group II playoffs, while the team in last position will play to avoid relegation to Group II.
“I think every tie is open and our players know their opponents well,” said Obziler. “We need to make sure we play with the right energy and show our heart.”