Leshem stuns Botzer, rest of favorites into semis

December 18, 2014 06:59
2 minute read.

Dudi Sela dropped just one game yesterday on his way to the semifinals of the Israel national championships in Ra’anana.. (photo credit: OFRA FRIEDMAN, ITA)


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Israel national tennis championships in Ra’anana were set on Wednesday, with 17-year-old Edan Leshem recording the upset of the day by beating Davis Cup team member Bar Botzer.

The promising teenager, who is ranked at No. 1,221 in the world, battled Botzer (867) for two hours and 51 minutes before recording a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win.

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Botzer, who showed plenty of promise while playing for Israel in its recent Davis Cup defeat to Argentina, struggled on Leshem’s serve, breaking only twice throughout the match.

Leshem entered the national championships in excellent form after claiming three consecutive ITF Junior events in Ra’anana, Haifa and Kiryat Shmona.

Next up for Leshem is a meeting with 21-year-old Dekel Bar (719), who defeated Daniel Cukierman (1,356) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

The men’s No. 1 seed Dudi Sela (99) remains the overwhelming favorite to defend his title in Ra’anana after cruising into the semis with a 6-1, 6-0 win in 48 minutes over 20-yearold Oran Reznik (1,473).

With Davis Cup teammate Amir Weintraub still out through injury, it is hard to see who can stop Sela, with retired player and current coach Gilad Berman to be his rival in the semis. Berman beat 17-yearold Ben Patael (1,153) 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday.

Shahar Pe’er (117), who missed last year’s championships through injury, entered the fray on Wednesday and encountered more trouble than expected against 18-year-old Shir Hurnung in the last eight.

Pe’er eventually recorded a 7-5, 6-0 victory after 67 minutes to book her place in the semifinals where she will play last year’s finalist Ofri Lankri. Lankri, who retired two years ago but gave Julia Glushko a run for her money in last year’s final, advanced with an easy 6-1, 6-1 win over Esther Masuri.

Pe’er is targeting her ninth national championship overall and seventh in the past nine years to close on record holder Tova Epstein, who claimed 11 titles, including eight in a row between 1965 and 1972.

Defending champion Glushko (154), who was the first to reach the semis on Tuesday, will play Deniz Khazaniuk (380) on Thursday.

Khazaniuk survived a scare against 17-year-old Alona Pushkarevsky, who already led by a set and a break.

However, Khazaniuk fought back from 2-4 down in the second set to eventually register a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory after two hours and 37 minutes.

Glushko and Weintraub visited the children’s ward and handed out gifts at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba on Tuesday.

“The national championships are important, but everything gets put in proportion when you come here,” said Glushko.

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