ITA cancels Anda Open

"The health and security of the players, the fans and the media is of the highest importance to us all."

Tzipi Obziler 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Tzipi Obziler 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Following days of uncertainty and speculation, the Israel Tennis Association has cancelled the Anda Open, which would have been Israel's first ever WTA Tour event, due to the security situation. The decision to cancel the $145,000 tournament was made jointly by the WTA, sponsor Henry Zimand, tournament director Ian Froman and ITA executives. "The health and security of the players, the fans and the media is of the highest importance to us all," WTA CEO Larry Scott wrote to the ITA. "Unfortunately, the current situation in the Middle East does not enable the necessary security and safety levels. Therefore, we will not be able to hold the tournament in October. The tournament will be held in 2007." "The WTA tournaments have always been a driving force behind creating unity between people and nations, but because of the situation in the region we have no choice but to cancel the tournament in Israel," Scott added. The tournament was named the Anda Open in memory of the wife of sponsor Zimand, who said, "It is a difficult decision, but reality has dictated it. "The players from oversees were scared of coming to Israel and I understand them. It is obviously our obligation to take care of the safety of the players and it is difficult to take such a responsibility in the current situation." ITA president and tournament director Dr. Ian Froman was upset about having to call off the event. "We invested a lot in organizing the tournament and everything was ready for a high level competition," he said. "Before the war broke out, 88 players from 33 countries had already registered. I'm very disappointed with the cancellation of the tournament." Obziler lone Israeli to survive semis Tzipi Obziler reached the biggest final of her career on Saturday after upsetting Australian Nicole Pratt 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, in the semifinal of the $75,000 WTA event at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, DC. Obziler, 33, is ranked 183 in the world and is set to climb around 40 places when the new rankings are released this week. The Israeli began the match well and won the first set comfortably. However, Pratt raced ahead at the start of the second set and opened a 5-2 lead. Obziler fought back to tie the set at 5-5, but Pratt broke the Israeli's serve once more and won the second set. Pratt took the lead in the third set, but Obziler came back from a break down to secure her spot in the final, where she will face Camille Pin (104) of France. Obziler has already won $6,000 by reaching the final and a victory against Pin would double that amount. The DC tournament also was the venue for Israeli disappointment on Saturday when Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich lost 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Paul Hanley of Australia and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe in their semifinal. The match was the fifth meeting of the year between the players, with Hanley and Ullyett taking a 3-2 lead overall thanks to their win on Saturday. Noam Okun's run at the Vancouver Challenger came to an end in the singles semifinals, where he lost to South African Rik De Voest (139) in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. Okun (266) finished the tournament with $5,000 and 31 ranking points that will move him closer to the world's top 200. Israeli interest in the doubles tournament at Vancouver also came to an end on Saturday when Harel Levy and British partner Martin Lee lost to De Voest and American Glenn Weiner 6-7, 6-3, 10-2.