Tennis: Sela, Weintraub advance to Australian Open

Israel has two men in a main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2008.

Dudi Sela 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Dudi Sela 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
For the first time in five years two Israeli men will be part of a Grand Slam singles main draw after both Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub qualified for the Australian Open on Saturday.
Sela, ranked No. 114 in the world and seeded No. 3 in the qualifiers, will play Russian Nikolay Davydenko (40) in the first round in Melbourne after coming back from a set down to beat German Michael Berrer (135) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and one minute in the third round of the qualifiers.
Sela will be playing in the main draw of the season’s first Grand Slam event for the seventh straight year, but will be looking to progress past the first round for the first time since 2009.
Should he manage to beat Davydenko, who reached the final in Doha last week, he will likely face Roger Federer in the second round.
“It was very important for me to reach the main draw,” said Sela, who won 18 of 25 net points against Berrer. “The Israeli fans really helped me. I didn’t play my best tennis, but I’m happy with the result.”
Weintraub (196) advanced to the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (179) and will face another Argentinian in Guido Pella (96) in the first round.
A victory for Weintraub would see him next face the winner of the first-round match between Steve Darcis and No. 17 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
“I’m delighted this has finally happened,” said Weintraub.
The last time two Israeli men played in the main draw of a major was in the 2008 Australian Open when Harel Levy came through the singles qualifiers to join Sela.
On Friday, Julia Glushko (177) was knocked out in the second round of the women’s qualifiers, losing 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Tereza Mrdeza (219).
Shahar Pe’er (73), who has lost her first two matches of the season to players ranked outside the top-100, was drawn to play Russian Alexandra Panova (93) in the first round in Melbourne, Should Pe’er claim her first win of the year and progress past the first round of the Australian Open for the fourth straight time she will play the winner of the match between No. 12 seed Nadia Petrova and Kimiko Date-Krumm.