Tennis: Big guns get national championships off to a winning start
Julia Glushko (left) and Dudi Sela (right) sign autographs
(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Sela is targeting his third straight national title and sixth overall, but is mainly using this week as preparation for the upcoming season.
Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub took a first step towards a showdown in the final of the Israel national championships in Ramat Hasharon after cruising to the quarterfinals on Tuesday, while the retired Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich won their first match together since September 2014.Sela, ranked No. 100 in the world, beat Mor Bulis (1,077) 6-1, 6-4 in 57 minutes, while Weintraub (237) defeated Daniel Dudockin (1,527) 6-1, 6-3.Sela is targeting his third straight national title and sixth overall, but is mainly using this week as preparation for the upcoming season.“I’ve been training quite a lot in the gym this week which is something I don’t usually do,” said Sela. “I’m coming off an okay year. I played just 21 tournaments in 2015, but I’m still in the top 100. I hope that next year goes better.” Sela was also asked about the upcoming Rio Olympics.The top 56 players in the world rankings on June 6, 2016 will qualify for the Olympics, with entry being limited to four players from a country.“I’m not thinking of Rio at the moment,” admitted Sela.“I’ve got a few more weeks until the Australian Open and qualifying for the Olympics will be a bonus. I hope I can make it.”Sela and Weintraub are also teaming up in the doubles tournament in Ramat Hasharon this week, advancing to the semifinals on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Shahar Elbaz and Yarden Hasson.“It is fun to play with Amir after playing with partners from other countries during the year,” said Sela. “We understood that we need to be able to play doubles together in the Davis Cup.”Weintraub beat Sela in the Israel club championships earlier this week, but joked that he has no chance of defeating him again.“Dudi won’t let that happen again. I can retire if I beat him again,” said Weintraub with a smile. “I’ve had a great period since coming back from injury and the most important thing is that I’m fit and ready. I will play in the Australian Open qualifiers and I’m delighted with that.”Ram came out of retirement for a week to play with Erlich in the national championships, and they had to come back from a set down to reach the semis on Tuesday, overcoming Yoav Ben- Zvi and Saar Steele 4-6, 6-1, 10-2.