Tennis: Sela, Levy bow out of Israel Open

Tournament will have no Israeli representation in singles semifinals.

The Israel Open will have no Israeli representation in the semifinals of the singles tournament after Dudi Sela and Harel Levy were knocked out in the quarterfinals at Ramat Hasharon on Thursday.
Sela, ranked number 58 in the world, was seeded No. 1 in the tournament, but was outplayed by Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan (117) in the last eight, losing 6-3, 6-2 in a mere 52 minutes.
Harel Levy (122) took the first set against Conor Niland (222), only to lose the next two on the way to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat.
Ilhan will play Thiago Alves of Brazil and Niland will face Denis Gremelmayr in Friday’s semifinals.
Israel does still have an interest in the doubles tournament after Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich advanced to the semifinals on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Samuel Groth and Daniel King-Turner.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Serena Williams dispatched Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-4 Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Italian Open in Rome.
Serena had an 8-1 edge in aces and 19-7 in winners. She attributed the brief lapse in the second set to a lack of “match toughness.”
“I definitely should have been up 5-0,” she said. “Hopefully as I start playing more, I’ll start to close these games out better.”
Serena won this clay-court warmup for the French Open in 2002 en route to her only title at Roland Garros.
Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic defeated Nadia Petrova 6-2, 7-5 to reach herfirst semifinal since losing to Justine Henin in January in Brisbane,Australia.
With her ranking down to No. 58, Ivanovic recently hired Steffi Graf’s old coach, Heinz Gunthardt, to improve her game.
“We’ve worked a lot the last few weeks and I feel great out there,” Ivanovic said.
Ivanovic’s semifinal opponent will be 26th-ranked Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, who beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 6-4.
AP contributed to this report