By ALLON SINAI
Israel's Fed Cup team will learn Wednesday afternoon which opponent stands in its way of claiming an historic place among the elite eight sides in World Group I of the competition.
Israel, which is not seeded in the draw, will face one of the four seeded teams - Belgium, Spain, Austria or Japan - in the World Group I playoff that will be played July 14-15.
The blue-and-white booked their place in Wednesday's draw after completing a 3-2 victory against Canada on Sunday in the World Group II first round in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Israel's number one, Shahar Pe'er (16), gave the side an unassailable 3-0 lead by defeating Aleksandra Wozniak (106) 6-4, 6-0, in Sunday's first match, rendering the remaining rubbers meaningless.
The Canadians restored some pride by claiming the next two matches. Marie-Eve Pelletier (199) defeated Julia Glushko (901) 6-1, 6-1, and Pelletier and Stephanie Dubois (134) outlasted Pe'er and Tzipi Obziler 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, in the doubles match.
But the results in the fourth and fifth rubbers will not concern the Israeli squad, which is already looking forward to its first ever World Group I playoff.
"We recorded a very convincing victory," team captain Oded Jacob said Tuesday. "I must admit that we were a little concerned with the indoor surface before the tie began. But the girls showed their mettle and won.
"It makes no difference to me who we get in the next round. We can defeat each and every one of our potential opponents.
"The most important thing is that we get a home tie, which the Israel team and fans deserve. We haven't played in Israel in more than 10 years and it's time that this team shows what it can do in front of its home fans," Jacob said.
Pe'er, who won her 11th straight Fed Cup rubber on Sunday, was pleased with her play over the weekend, and is hoping to finally play a tie in Israel.
"I played well on the big points," she said after the match. "I was able to hold my serve in a tough game to go up 5-4 in the first set and that gave me a lot of confidence.
"Fed Cup matches are the ones you will always remember because often you have the greatest moments of your career in this competition. Hopefully, we can play the World Group I playoff at home in front of our fans because that would be very special," Pe'er said.
var cont = `Stay Informed
As the war against Hamas unfolds, our unwavering newsroom remains committed to covering Israel's most profound crisis.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real-time news and in-depth analysis from our top reporters.