(JTA) – Amir Weintraub won the deciding match to send Israel past Japan and into the Davis Cup World Group following a two-year absence.
Weintraub, ranked No. 223 in the world, defeated Japan’s Go Soeda, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday in Japan to snap the 2-2 tie between the teams. Soeda is ranked 53rd.
"Last year I beat [Milos] Raonic of Canada in the Davis Cup on my birthday, and this year I helped the team to the World Group, hopefully next year I can celebrate with a win in the semifinals," The Jerusalem Post quoted Weintraub, 26, as saying. "We may not deserve to be in the World Group when you consider our rankings, but we deserve it because of our heart."
Israel’s top-ranked player, Dudi Sela, fell in five sets earlier in the day to Kei Nishikori to set up the decider. The doubles team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram had won two days earlier to give Israel a 2-1 lead. Weintraub also won on Friday.