Photo: Kobi WienerBoaz Kramer (ISR)
With all eight seeds having first round byes on Monday’s first day of the Israel Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, Russia’s Konstantin Afinogenov and Israel’s Shahar Levi were involved in the day's most hotly contested matches in Tel Aviv.
Both players were involved in matches that had Israeli and Russian players on either side of the net, with Afinogenov enjoying a hard-earned victory over Rami Faruzi 63 57 75, but Levi boosting the fortunes of the host nation after coming from a set down to beat Aleksander Fedorov 26 63 63.
Elsewhere, Meir Cohen, Amir Levi, Maim Levi and Genadi Kohanov will also represent Israel in the men’s second round after all posting straight sets wins, while Diego and Marco Amadori will represent Italy in the last 16.
British top seeds Marc McCarroll and David Phillipson will face Cohen and Shahar Levi respectively in their opening matches.
Turkish duo earn women’s quarterfinal berths
In the three matches played in the women’s singles to complete the quarterfinals line-up, two Turkish players advanced. Ebru Bulgurco had a tough opening match against her compatriot Aydemir Nesa before finally completing a 75 64 win that set up a quarterfinal against French third seed Christine Schoenn.
Meanwhile, Julide Yildiz secured a comfortable 61 60 win over Russia’s Malika Magomedova to book her place in the last eight against second seed Bianca Osterer of Germany. However, there was better news for the Russian challenge in the remaining match as junior Polina Shakirova set herself up for a meeting with British top seed Jordanne Whiley after defeating Israel’s Veronika Zvik 62 62.
Norfolk returns as quad singles starts
With Israel’s former world No. 1 and top seed Shraga Weinberg having a first round bye in the quad singles, the seven matches that did take place ended with 60 60 wins for Italy’s Alfredo di Cosmo, Israel’s second seed Boaz Kramer and Patric Ben Uriel and British third seed Adam Field.
This week’s tournament seeds the return to action of former world No. 1 Peter Norfolk, as the two-time Paralympic gold medallist plays his first tournament since London 2012. Fourth seed Norfolk, whose recent inactivity on the NEC Tour has resulted in his quad singles ranking dropping to No. 20, beat Sweden’s Marcus Jonsson 62 61.
Israel’s Itai Erenlib also dropped just three games in beating his countryman Alexander Izrailov and Izrailov will now face Weinberg, while Norfolk plays di Cosmo. Field will face Uriel for a place in the semifinals, while Kramer goes up against Shir Teraza, who won a first set tiebreak against fellow Israel Yosi Genish before Genish retired.