Dudi Sela will face world No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the US Open on Friday after claiming just his second Grand Slam win in three years on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 83 in the world, defeated Carlos Berlocq (63) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in the first round in a preview of their expected meeting in the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie between Israel and Argentina in two weeks.
Sela dropped the first set in a mere 24 minutes, but he bounced back to wrap up the win after two hours and 43 minutes.
Sela has reached the second round in New York in each of his past four appearances at the US Open, but has never gone further. His only other Grand Slam win since 2012 came at Flushing Meadows last year, with the Israeli not progressing past the second round of a major since he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2009.
Sela will have to record a massive upset if he’s to do so on Friday, with the up-and-coming Dimitrov cruising to a 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Bulgarian is coming off a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon and is currently ranked at a career high.
Shahar Pe’er (155) squandered a golden opportunity to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2011 Australian Open after dropping to a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (121) on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Israeli advanced to the second round of a major for the first time since January 2013 on Monday, but lost her way following the first set against Lucic-Baroni and was sent packing after two hours and five minutes.
In other action, world No. 1 Serena Williams blew past Vania King 6-1, 6-0 and into the third round of the US Open on a windswept day at Flushing Meadows on Thursday.
The first meeting between the Americans will not go down as a memorable one, especially for 81st-ranked King as Williams needed a mere 56 minutes to seal the victory on a sun-kissed Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Williams, dressed in a pink leopard-print dress, had more trouble with the gusty conditions than with her opponent, committing three double faults in her opening service game.
But the 17-times grand slam champion would eventually gain enough control of her serve and groundstrokes blasting 25 winners past an overwhelmed King, who could manage just five.
Next up for the top seed in her quest for a third straight US Open title and sixth overall, is American Varvara Lepchenko, who was a 6-4, 6-0 winner over Germany’s Mona Barthel.Reuters contributed to this report