Israel's Dudi Sela Storms to Title in Tashkent Tennis Tournament

Tunisian said to be upset after being forced to withdraw from match against Israel’s Amir Weintraub.

Dudi Sela has won his third Challenger tournament of the year, storming to a straight-sets victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the men’s singles at the $125,000 Tashkent Challenger on Sunday.

Israel’s top-ranked tennis player, who is 89th in the world ranking and was seeded third for the tournament, won a one-sided final 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour. The victory will see Sela pocket a handsome $18,000 and 125 ATP points, which will propel him into the top 70 of the rankings.

“I’m thrilled with my win and the points will help to move into playing major events in the coming year,” Sela told the official Tashkent Challenger website after the match. “I’m also happy that I won the title here after five years. I congratulate Teymuraz for a good week but he looked tired today.”

Gabashvili, who won the doubles title on Saturday looked out of sorts and tired. Sela took charge of the match, breaking the Russian in the second, fourth and sixth games to win the first set in 34 minutes. The second set was no different with Sela securing two breaks in the third and fifth games.

“I congratulate Dudi for a great win but I was not feeling well and was too tired,” said Gabashvili, who had to be content with $10,600 and 75 ATP points.

Meanwhile, the dust has yet to settle on the decision by the Tunisian tennis federation to order the country’s top player to withdraw from a quarterfinal match against Israel’s Amir Weintraub.

Malek Jaziri had been scheduled to play Weintraub on Friday in Tashkent. He withdrew before the match and Weintraub advanced to the semifinals, where he was subsequently beaten by Gabishvili.

The ATP, meanwhile, announced Sunday that it will look into Jazari’s withdrawal. In Shanghai, where the ATP Masters Series is holding a top-level tournament, a spokesman for the ATP said: “We’re aware of it and are liaising with the ITF.”

According to French news agency AFP, Jaziri and Weintraub are members of the same tennis club in France – Sarcelles Tennis – north of Paris and have known each other for years through their sport.

The 29-year-old Jaziri is currently ranked world number 169 and could have risen to 135th had he won the tournament in Tashkent.

The president of the Sarcelles tennis club where the two players are members, Jonathan Chaouat, said that he had spoken to Jaziri on Thursday night and that the player had been upset he would be unable to play the match.

“He explained to me that he could not play the match and when I asked him where the pressure not to play was coming from he replied ‘my country.’ What is certain is that it was not Malek who decided not to play this match. Malek was taken hostage.”

AP