Tzipi Obziler upset eighthseeded Mara Santangelo of Italy 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan on Wednesday to advance to the second round of a WTA Tour event for the second time in as many weeks. Obziler, ranked 147 by the WTA, will face Russian teenager Elena Vesnina (144) Thursday in the second round seeking her first appearance in a quarterfinal since February.
On Tuesday, Shahar Pe'er (50) defeated Marion Bartoli (45) of France 6-4, 6-4 for the third time this year to advance to the second round of the Japan Open in Tokyo. Pe'er will meet top seed Vera Zvonareva (24) Thursday in the opening match on center court.
The Israeli is also scheduled to play in the doubles quarterfinals later in the day. Pe'er and Sania Mirza of India beat Americans Jill Craybas and Carly Gullickson 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round. Their opponents in the quarters will be decided early Thursday when the match that pits Australian Trudi Musgrave and American Ashley Harkleroad against Nicole Pratt of Australia and Tathiana Garbin of Italy is concluded. The Australian/Italian side led 6-3, 1-2 when play was stopped due to rain Wednesday.
ITA chasing WTA stars for Anda Open
The Israel Tennis Association continues to seek star players for the first-ever WTA Tour event in Israel next year. The Anda Open, a $145,000 Tier IV tournament, is scheduled to take place next October in Ramat Hasharon.
Among the names tournament director and ITA chairman Dr. Ian Froman has approached is tennis legend Martina Navratilova, former top five Daniela Hantuchova (20) of Slovakia and up-and-coming Russian Dinara Safina (23), the younger sister of Marat Safin.
The ITA will step up its efforts at the end of the calendar year, when the WTA announces which players will not be permitted to play in the event, because of the $1.3 million Zurich Open that will be played at the same time.
Also Thursday, the ITA will host a reception in honor of the Davis Cup team that defeated Zimbabwe 4-1 earlier this month to retain its spot in Europe/Africa Zone, Group I.
All are welcome to attend the event, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Bnei Herzliya club in Neve Amal. Davis Cup singles players Noam Okun and Dudi Sela will square off in a clay-court exhibition during the evening.