Israel beat Portugal 3:0 to advance in the worldwide Davis Cup tennis tournament. The win takes Israel out of Group I in the Europe/Africa division and into the World Group playoffs, where it will contend for a spot in the coveted World Group, which includes elite tennis nations like last year’s champion Spain and the US.
In the first match of the weekend, Israeli number one Dudi Sela beat Frederico Gil in straight sets: 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. All Davis cup matches are best-of-five-sets encounters, like the Grand Slams.
Amir Weintraub followed up Sela’s win with a victory over higher-ranked opponent Rui Machado. The final score of that match was 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5.
The doubles team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram stamped Israel’s ticket to the next round Saturday with a straight-set victory (6-4, 6-4, 6-3) over their Portuguese opponents, Joao Sousa and Gastao Elias.
Recently freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit came out on Saturday to watch the doubles match. He told the players that he was allowed to watch a lot of tennis while being held in captivity by the terrorist group Hamas for over five years.
All matches took place in the Canada Stadium in Ramat Hasharon. Next up for Israel will be either Belgium or Great Britain in the playoff round, which kicks off on September 14.