(photo credit: Allon Sinai)
Julia Glushko advanced to the final of the national championships on Thursday afternoon after surprising two-time defending champion Tzipi Obziler 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the semifinals in Ra'anana.
The 16-year-old Glushko (893) was down a break and a set at one stage, but fought back and claimed the second set with a backhand winner.
Obziler (112) began to experience pain her back in the third set and Glushko raced to a 4-1 lead before completing the victory.
"This is the biggest win of my career," Glushko said after the match.
"I've been working very hard over the last couple of months and it has paid off. I always have faith in myself and believe that I can beat anybody."
The up-and-coming Glushko will face Shahar Pe'er (20) in the final after the No. 1 seed cruised past Keren Shlomo (736) 6-1, 6-2, in Thursday's other semifinal.
Pe'er was in full control for the entire match and will be a huge favorite to win her third national championship on Friday afternoon against Glushko. Pe'er was runner-up to Obziler the last two years and will be expected to outclass Glushko to regain the title she first won in 2001 when she was just 14 years old.
"I was very composed at the beginning of the match and got off to a good start," Pe'er said after the match. "I always get very excited when I play in Israel and I enjoy it very much."
The men's singles final on Friday will feature the top two seeds after No. 1 Noam Okun (178) defeated Ishay Hadash (635) 6-2, 6-4, and No. 2 Dudi Sela (202) beat Harel Levy (286) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
Okun will be looking for his first national championship since 1998, with Sela hoping to win the title for the first time.
Glushko capped a dream day when she combined with Shlomo to defeat Victoria Tzaitlin and Shani Arnon 6-4, 6-2 to claim the women's doubles championship.
No. 1 seeds Andy Ram and Amir Hadad defeated Dudi Sela and Sa'ar Stil 6-0, 7-6 (4) to win the men's doubles title.
On TV: National tennis championships, women's and men's singles finals (live at 1 p.m. on Sport5).
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