Tennis world threatens Dubai over Pe’er ban

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

A major row over the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to refuse a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er is escalating ahead of next week’s men’s championships, at which another Israeli is due to play.

International tennis organisations have hinted they may pull out of the $10 million (£7m) Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships if Israeli doubles player Andy Ram is also denied entry.


Peer power

By Simon Griver, February 19, 2009

Shahar Peer ended a turbulent week on a high as she climbed three places to 45 in the WTA rankings.

Banned from competing in the Dubai Open, the Israeli reached the semi-finals of the Pattaya City tournament in Thailand. Peer’s run saw her reach the last four of a competition in almost a year. The defeat by top seed Vera Zvonereva ended a run of five consecutive victories.

“My new trainer Pablo Giacopelli has given me a lot of confidence,” said Peer.

Andy Ram partnered Julian Knowle to reach the semis of the Rotterdam tournament.


Inspired Peer can’t lift Israel

By Simon Griver, February 12, 2009

Israel are in danger of being relegated from the Federation Cup World Group II after being drawn to play away to Estonia.

A plucky performance was not enough to save them from defeat in the Ukraine last weekend when they went down 3-2, and they must now travel to the Baltic state in late April when they will again start as underdogs.

Shahar Peer (48) and Tzipi Obziler are set to take on Kaia Kanepi (23) and Maret Ani (109).


Ram falls at final hurdle

By Dan Goldberg, February 2, 2009

Andy Ram failed to win his fourth grand slam doubles title at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Playing in the mixed doubles final alongside France’s Nathalie Dechy, the Israeli was outfoxed and outclassed by the Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupati 6-3, 6-1 in 55 minutes at Rod Laver Arena just before the much-anticipated men’s singles final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The Indian pair, who defeated Ram and Dechy in last year’s semi-final in Australia, broke in the first set and twice in the second set.


Ram in final

January 29, 2009

Australia Open

Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram is in line to win the first Grant Slam of the year after reaching the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Ram, who won the men’s doubles title with Jonathan Erlich last year, partnered Natalie Dechy of France to beat No. 7 seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo 7-6, 6-4.

The pair reached last year’s semi-finals in Australia and await the winner of the other semi between Czech duo Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy and Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi of India on Friday.


Ram reached mixed doubles semis

By Dan Goldberg, January 28, 2009

Israeli tennis ace Andy Ram qualified for the mixed doubles finals at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Ram and his playing partner, Natalie Dechy of France, will face the Spanish No. 7 seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo on Thursday for a berth in the final of the first Grand Slam of the year.

The unseeded pair defeated Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova and Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in straight sets in the quarter-final, 7-5, 6-1 in just 58 minutes.


Game over for Sela

By Danny Caro, January 26, 2009

Dudi Sela’s dream run at the Australian Open came to an end on Saturday.

In a David-versus-Goliath contest, the plucky 23-year-old fell in four sets to last year’s runner-up, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, at Rod Laver Arena.

Playing in his first ever third round match at a grand slam tournament, Sela was broken in the first game of the match, and went on to lose the first set 4-6 in front of 10,000 fans.

The Israeli, buoyed by flags bearing the Star of David in the crowd, was two sets down before he began to claw his way back into the match, taking the third set 6-1.


Sela storms into Australian Open third round

January 22, 2009

Dudi Sela has qualified for the last 32 of a Grand Slam event for the first time.

On Thursday morning, he also became the first Israeli male to reach the third round of the Australian Open since Amos Mansdorf in 1994 by defeating Victor Hanescu in straight sets.

Having beaten 30th seed Rainer Schuettler in the opening round, Sela’s 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 success against the Romanian was even more impressive as he went through the match without dropping serve.


Dynamite Dudu never says no-no

By Dan Goldberg, January 22, 2009

Dudi Sela caused one of the upsets of the week after staging a miraculous comeback to win his first-round match in Melbourne.

Ranked 106th in the world, Sela appeared to be down and out after Germany’s Rainer Schuettler blasted the diminutive Israeli off the court in a first-set pummelling.

But the dogged Sela, from Kiryat Shmona, turned the tide in the subsequent sets, overcoming the No. 30 seed in four; 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
“It was good, but tough to play today because it was windy,” said Sela, 23.


'I won't court controversy,' vows Shahar

By Simon Griver, January 14, 2009