Tzipi Obziler stunned defending champion Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets on Wednesday to move into the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
The 6-3, 6-4 win over the fifth seeded Slovenian, ranked 27th in the world, marks one of the most impressive wins of Obziler's (136) career, and at age 32 she is now threatening to become the oldest player in WTA Tour history to crack the top 100 for the first time.
Obziler raced out to a 4-1 lead and never looked back, setting up a quarterfinal encounter with second seed Daniela Hantuchova (19) of Slovakia. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two.
"I played well despite the difficult conditions... I used my best weapon - my head. I feel good and I hope I can play good tennis tomorrow against Hantuchova and take another step forward," said Obziler.
Srebotnik was also complimentary of her opponent's game. "Obziler played one of her best matches, I didn't play my best," she told reporters.
"She hit some great shots on the run... She didn't give me any chances."
Obziler's success marks the second year in a row that an Israeli has risen from the qualifying rounds to reach the quarterfinals in Auckland.
Last year it was Shahar Pe'er. Things have not gone as well this year for Pe'er, who after losing in the first round of the singles on Tuesday, went out in her opening-round doubles match.
Pe'er and Russian partner Vera Dushevina lost 7-5, 6-1 to Jelena Kostanic of Croatia and German Martina Muller.
On the men's side, doubles stars Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will face Australians Chris Guccione and Nathan Healey Thursday in the quarterfinals at the Adelaide International in Australia. The second seeded Israelis have been off since Monday.
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