Weintraub Peer 311.
(photo credit: Gil Krodo)
Israeli tennis was given plenty of reasons for optimism in Ra’anana on
Shahar Pe’er and Dudi Sela were considered to be the firm
favorites entering the finals of the Israel championships, but by the end of the
day it was the play of Julia Glushko and Amir Weintraub which everyone was
Weintraub stunned Sela 7- 6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (8) to win the
men’s title for the first time in his career, while Glushko pushed Pe’er all the
way before falling 6-0, 4-6, 7-5.
“This is the biggest win of my life,”
said the 24-year-old Weintraub, who is currently ranked number 281 in the world,
three places below the career-best he reached three weeks ago. “I have grown in
confidence in recent weeks and that helped me believe that I could win this
match. I didn’t know if I would play here after my grandfather passed away on
Wednesday and I dedicate this title to him.
“I hope this victory will
give me a push forward at the start of 2011,” added Weintraub, who will be
playing in the qualifiers of the Brisbane tournament this week.
seemed to be in control at the start of the final, winning the first three
However, Weintraub, who will soon have to step into the shoes of
the retiring Harel Levy and Noam Okun as the Davis Cup team’s No.
player, came right back, and edged Israel’s No. 1 in the first set.
took a 3-0 lead in the second set as well, but this time he remained in front to
tie up the match.
The third set was tight throughout, with neither player
managing to break serve.
It would all come down to a decisive tiebreaker
in which Weintraub would come back from 5-2 down to claim a dramatic
“I made too many mistakes and didn’t take advantage of the chances I
had,” Sela said.
“I hope Weintraub continues to do well in the
Pe’er (13) crushed the 21- year-old Glushko (235) in the first
set of the women’s final, and at that stage, those on hand were surely expecting
a repeat of last year’s title match in which Pe’er defeated her Fed Cup teammate
to the lost of just three games.
Pe’er had dropped just three games in
her three matches leading up to Friday’s final, but unlike last year, Glushko
never gave up and tied the match with an impressive second set.
No. 1 looked to be on her way to the victory after surging into a 4-1 lead in
the third set, only for Glushko to take three games on the trot and set up a
Pe’er held her nerve the better of the two players in
the closing stages and clinched her fifth straight national championship and
seventh overall, trailing only Tova Epstein’s record of 11 titles, including
eight consecutive between 1965 and 1972.
“This was a very tough match.
Julia has made a significant improvement,” said Pe’er, who leaves for Australia
on Tuesday before beginning her 2011 season in Brisbane next week. “Julia was
very aggressive and she deserves every compliment.
She showed a lot of
As soon as she will play more against the top players she will
learn from the experience and become a better and better player.”
also spoke of her goals for 2011.
“I would like to do better in Grand
Slams this season and reach quarterfinals for the first time since 2007,” she
said. “I also want to win some titles after reaching so many semis last year. If
I begin the season well I believe I will break into the top 10.”
was disappointed with the result, but pleased with her performance.
was really close this time,” said Glushko, who won four ITF titles last year and
will be looking to break into the top-200 in 2011. “I played really well and
gave Shahar a fight. I’ve made a lot of progress in recent months and the fact I
almost beat the world No. 13 gives me a lot of confidence heading into next