By ALLON SINAI
After dropping just a single game on his way to the quarterfinals of the Israel Championships in Ra'anana on Tuesday, Dudi Sela took out time to speak of his expectations for the coming year.
Sela, who defeated Moti Ma'aravi 6-1, 6-0 and will next face 2005 champion Dekel Valtzer, is first and foremost hoping to improve his game in 2010.
"I'm not setting myself a target when it comes to ranking," said Sela, who is currently at number 43 in the world. "I'm not interested if I'm in the top-10, top-20 or top-100. The most important thing is to improve as a player.
"My training with Amos Mansdorf is going well and I feel that I'm improving all the facets of my game. I'm facing a difficult year because I have many rankings points to defend. However, I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Harel Levy (119), who thrashed Gilad Berman 6-0, 6-0 on Tuesday to advance to the last eight, is currently at his highest ranking since April 2004.
"I didn't think I would reach this ranking in 2009," he admitted. "I will continue to work hard and hope to continue to rise in the rankings."
Also Tuesday, No. 3 seed Noam Okun (258) and fourth seed Amir Weintraub (576) reached the quarterfinals with straight sets victories.
In other tennis news, Roger Federer and Serena Williams were selected Tuesday as the International Tennis Federation's world champions of 2009.
Federer, who receives the ITF award for a fifth time, completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open and captured a record 15th major title by winning Wimbledon. He also regained the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.
"It was an incredible year for me both on and off the court," Federer said. "To win my first Roland Garros title, break the all-time Grand Slam record and regain the No. 1 ranking is amazing. It means a lot to me to finish the year again at the top."
Williams, who receives the ITF honor for a second time, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon to bring her career total of Grand Slam titles to 11.
Serena and Venus Williams were selected as women's doubles world champions for the first time, making Serena the first player since Martina Hingis in 1999 to receive both singles and doubles honors.
American twins Bob and Mike Bryan are the men's doubles world champions for a record sixth time.
Daniel Berta of Sweden and Kristina Mladenovic of France were named ITF junior world champions, while the wheelchair awards went to Shingo Kunieda of Japan for the third consecutive year and Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands for the 10th straight year.
The winners will receive their awards at the annual ITF world champions dinner on June 1 in Paris, during the French Open.
AP contributed to this report.
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