It’s Pe’er and Glushko in final once again

Emotions were running higher than usual at the typically sleepy Israel tennis championships.

SHAHAR PE’ER (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Emotions were running higher than usual at the typically sleepy Israel tennis championships on Wednesday, with Shahar Pe’er finally settling an old score with former Fed Cup teammate Deniz Khazniuk.
Pe’er dismantled Khazniuk 6-0, 6-1 in 42 minutes to set up a showdown with Julia Glushko in the final for a fourth straight year. However, her reaction after the win completely overshadowed the one-sided match at Ramat Hasharon.
Pe’er refused to shake Khazniuk’s hand at the net and shouted towards her that she is a “disgrace to the State of Israel” after she harshly criticized Shahar and the Fed Cup team in an interview with Ma’ariv more than 10 months ago.
Khazniuk branded Pe’er as “one big bluff” and claimed that the Fed Cup squad mistreated her and didn’t behave professionally during February’s Europe/Africa Zone Group I matches in Eilat.
Pe’er declined to comment at the time, but she was clearly just waiting for the right moment to fire back, eventually doing so in front of only a few dozen spectators in Ramat Hasharon, but loud enough so that her words could be heard by all in attendance, including the TV cameras and microphones.
“I talk on court and not in the newspapers,” Pe’er said. “I had nothing against her. I helped her in the Fed Cup, but she decided to attack the team, the association and me in particular.”
Khazniuk didn’t seem to take Pe’er’s outburst to heart.
“I understand that she is angry at me and I expected something like this,” said the 18-year-old Khazniuk, who is ranked at No. 555 in the world.
“I didn’t react because I knew that she was talking in anger.”
Pe’er (74) lost the national title for the first time in six years when she was beaten by Glushko (176) last December, but she is entering Thursday’s final in a confident mood after reuniting with coach Pablo Giacopelli.
The women’s final was brought forward by 24 hours due to the stormy weather expected on Friday.
The men’s final was postponed from Friday to Saturday.
“The two matches on Tuesday got me going and I played much better against Khazniuk,” Pe’er said. “I’m feeling good with myself. I’m happy that I’m improving and I hope that I’ll play even better in the final.”
Glushko progressed to her fourth consecutive final with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Keren Shlomo (471).
Former winner Amir Weintraub (194) survived a scare to advance to the men’s semifinals on Wednesday, beating 17-year-old Igor Smilansky 3- 6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in two hours and 10 minutes.
Weintraub faces Tal Goldengoren in Thursday’s semis after the latter defeated Dekel Bar 6-3, 6-3 in the quarters.
Dudi Sela (109) thrashed Or Ram- Harel 6-2, 6-1 to progress to the last four where he will play Harel Srugo, who beat Dor Belfer 6-3, 6-0.