Tennis: Sela to face Okun today in Israeli Championships semis

Tennis Sela to face Oku

The top four seeds in the men's and women's tournaments will face-off in Ra'anana on Thursday for a place in the final of the Israeli Championships on Friday. Dudi Sela (43 in the world), who advanced to the semis on Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-2 win over 2005 champion Dekel Valtzer, will face Noam Okun (258) in the last four, with the latter cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 win against Or Dekel. "I'm hoping to regain the title," said Sela, who won his only Israeli championship in 2006. "It is going to get much tougher from now on. Okun is a good friend so this will be a mental battle." In the second semi of the day, two-time defending champion Harel Levy (119) will play Amir Weintraub (576). Levy beat Almog Mashiah 6-3, 6-3, with Weintraub edging Gilad Ben-Tzvi 7-6, 7-6. The favorites in the women's tournament also cruised into the last four. Three-time reigning champion and number 1 seed Shahar Pe'er beat 2002 champion Cheli Bargil 6-3, 6-2 and will next play Keren Shlomo (3), who defeated Or Meir 6-2, 6-2. "I had a very difficult training session yesterday and felt I wasn't moving well on court," Pe'er said. "It is a shame the level of this tournament isn't that high, but it is still a challenge and a tradition and I enjoy playing at home." In the first women's semi of the day, Julia Glushko (2), who defeated Rona Levian 6-1, 6-1, will play Chen Astrogo, who thrashed Esther Masuri 6-0, 6-0. The doubles' finals will also be played on Thursday. Sela and Sa'ar Stil will face defending champions, Noam Behr and Andy Ram, with Astrogo and Shlomo to play Efrat Zlotikman and Alexandra Kichutkin.