peer and sela_311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Shahar Pe’er and Dudi Sela will be the clear favorites to defend their Israel
national titles in Ra’anana on Friday.
Pe’er faces Julia Glushko in a
repeat of last year’s final, looking for a fifth straight title and the seventh
of her career.
Israel’s number 1 has dropped just three games in her
three matches in Ra’anana so far, defeating Hen Astrogo 6-0, 6-1 on Thursday to
book a showdown with Glushko, who overcame Denise Hazaniuk 6-2,
“This was the first time in two months that I have played well as I
wanted to find my rhythm ahead of the final,” said Pe’er, who is chasing Tova
Epstein’s record of 11 national championships, including eight consecutive
titles between 1965 and 1972. “I have had tough finals in recent years and it
won’t be easy against Julia because she is playing well.”
Glushko is coming off the best year of her career, winning four ITF titles to
climb to her current career-best ranking of No. 235.
Sela beat Noam Okun
7-6, 6- 4 and will play Amir Weintraub in the final for the second straight year
after the latter defeated Sa’ar Stil 6-4, 6-3.
The 32-year-old Okun
announced his retirement after the defeat to Sela, saying it was time to move on
with his life.
“Considering this was my last match I was pleased with the
way I played,” said Okun, who was ranked as high as No. 95 in the world in 2002
and won 17 of 32 matches he played for Israel’s Davis Cup team between 1999 and
2008. “It hurts to leave the game but I had no choice. It is time to move on and
take with me the good things tennis gave me and lift my head up high.”