Local Tennis: Sela, Shahar sail into national finals again

Tennis Sela, Shahar sai

Dudi Sela will be a firm favorite to claim his first Israeli championship title since 2006 when he faces surprise package Amir Weintraub in Friday's final in Ra'anana, while Shahar Pe'er will be going for her fourth straight title against Julia Glushko. Sela (No. 43 in the world) broke once in each set to defeat Noam Okun (258) 6-3, 6-4 in Thursday's semi, but is hoping for an improved performance in the final. "I didn't play that well, but the most important thing is that I won and I hope to play better in the final," Sela said. Two-time defending champion Harel Levy (119) was not expected to encounter much trouble against Weintraub (576) in Thursday's second semifinal. However, Weintraub, who also reached the final in 2005, led throughout the match and clinched the 64, 6-3 win with his second break of serve of the second set. "This is the biggest win of my career," said Weintraub. "I played superbly and if I continue to do so I can beat Sela as well." Pe'er (30) beat Keren Shlomo (392) 6-2, 7-5, coming back from a 4-2 deficit in the second set. "I had to work a little harder than I did in my previous matches, but I prefer it that way," said Pe'er. "I need these matches to make sure I'm ready for the new season." Glushko (320) defeated Chen Astrogo (491) 6-7, 6-4, 6-1. Astrogo led by a set and 4-2 before Glushko took 10 of the next 11 games to reach the final. Glushko faced Pe'er in the 2006 final, but lost by the humiliating score line of 6-0, 6-0. "I really hope the embarrassing result does not repeat itself," Glushko said. "I will try and play my tennis and do what I can against Pe'er." The doubles' titles were also handed out in Ra'anana on Thursday. Andy Ram and his coach Noam Behr, who were playing together in the absence of the injured Yoni Erlich, defended their title from last year, defeating Sela and Sa'ar Stil 6-3, 6-3. Astrogo and Shlomo claimed the women's title, beating Efrat Zlotikman and Alexandra Kichutkin 6-2, 6-1.