(photo credit: Courtesy)
Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub remained on course to meet in the final of the Israel national tennis championships for the seventh time in the past eight years on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals in Ra’anana in straight sets.
Sela, ranked No. 96 in the world, didn’t have it all his own way against 20-year-old Orel Ovil (952), coming back from behind in the first set before claiming a 7-5, 6-1 conquest.
“I chose not to compete in many tournaments towards the end of last year because I felt tired but I’ve been training really well over the past month-and-a-half and I feel really good,” said the 31-yearold Sela.
“I believe I can return to the top 50 in 2017. I think 60 of the top 100 are currently over the age of 30 and I think that is unprecedented. I feel a lot better physically than I did a few years ago.”
Sela next faces Alon Elia (967), while Weintraub (231) will play Dekel Bar (865) in the last eight after having little trouble defeating 17-yearold Amit Gabreal 6-3, 6-1.
In another quarterfinal, Yshai Oliel (927) will face Edan Leshem (409).
With Julia Glushko preparing for the new season in New Zealand and Shahar Pe’er spending more time recently training to run a marathon than on the tennis court, Deniz Khazaniuk (247) is the No. 1 seed in the women’s draw and a clear favorite to win her first national title.
Khazaniuk enters the tournament at the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday, facing Shelly Brezniak.
Pe’er has plummeted to No. 1,152 having not played since last February and Israel Tennis Association CEO Shlomo Glickstein believes it won’t be long before she officially announces her retirement.
“She hasn’t played tennis for 10 months. First it was an injury and after that it was other stuff,” said Glickstein.
“I’m in contact with her and her father and I think that deep inside she still thinks she will come back at some stage. That doesn’t seem realistic to me. She will surely find the proper way to say goodbye.”