Original Article in The Jerusalem Post:

Day 2 of the US Open qualifiers offered music and dance, the official dedication of the new 14,069 seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, and lots of great tennis.

Early arrivals got to see Roger Federer up close practicing in the Grandstand.  Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis led an eight-piece marching band in a musical performance as part of the Armstrong Stadium dedication, and tennis legends James Blake and Michael Chang defeated John and Patrick McEnroe 4-6, 6- 12-10 in the first match ever played on the new Armstrong Court.

And guests enjoyed musical and dance performances from Paraguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru as part of US Open (New York City borough of) Queens Day.

Dozens of matches today on 14 courts included 14-year-old Cori Gauff battling Heather Watson in a qualifying match (Watson won 6-4, 6-1).  And Israel’s only remaining entrant in the qualifying draw, Julia Glushko, survived a two-hour scare from Mexico’s Renata Zarazua.

Glushko, ranked No. 162 in the world, got off to a slow start and trailed 4-0 before battling back to 4-4.  The momentum appeared to shift and Glushko, up 40-0, appeared ready to break No. 228 Zarazua and cruise to victory in the first set. Instead, Zarazua took the first set 6-4.

Glushko lost the first game of the second set then played aggressive, hard-hitting tennis, which included approaching the net for putaways three times in one game. Gluskho, with the support of the crowd, took the set 6-1.

In the deciding third set, Glushko started down 2-0 and held serve in the important third game.  Glushko broke Zarazua in the fourth game and again held serve to bring the set to 3-2. At 4-4, Glushko again demonstrated her capacity for aggressive tennis, which included risky shots deep on the baseline, volleys and overheads. Glushko went up 5-4 to receive for the match. Up 40-30, Zarazua made an uncharacteristic double fault.  Glushko #162 won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and advanced to round two of the qualifiers Thursday versus No. 106 Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.

Glushko was pleased, if not a bit surprised by her victory following a slow start.

“Oh, My God!  I was so nervous in the beginning, I couldn’t breathe!.  But I got out of it.  I am so happy I got through,” said the 28-year-old Israeli.

Glushko took three months off of tennis earlier this year and started working three months ago with new coach and former Israeli tennis player Amir Haddad as well as with a new fitness trainer. She also travels with former Israeli tennis player Keren Shlomo, who was offering coaching from the sidelines during Wednesday’s match.

Gluskho is pleased to be surrounded by positive people who believe in her and attributes much of her recent success to her team, as well as to her hard training and positive attitude.

“I feel like my mental game was really good today.  I focused on the good stuff and the positive talk to myself really made a difference.”

Shlomo agrees: “Julia started very nervous but she pulled through.  She did the things we talked about and she pulled it off.  She has been working really hard and really wants it.  She deserves it!”

With Deniz Khazaniuk’s round 1 qualifiers loss Tuesday to Tamaar Kopratsch of Germany (4-6, 6-4, 6-3), Glushko is Israel’s only hope for a player in the US Open Main draw.  She will need to win Thursday and Friday to win one of the coveted 16 remaining spots in the womens draw.  While Israel tennis fans have grown accustomed to seeing the likeable Dudi Sela at the US Open each year, he will not be playing this year.

Sela, ranked No. 166, has been plagued by an arm injury and has not played since reaching the quarterfinals on grass at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Rhode Island in July.  Another crowd favorite, Yoni Ehrlich, will enter the doubles draw for this year’s US Open.

There are no Israelis playing the junior US Open tournament.

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