Levy, Sela leave Israel in trouble

Ran’s team relying on Andy/Yoni after losing opening singles matches in Chile.

March 7, 2010 06:52
3 minute read.
FERNANDO GONZALEZ plays a shot to Harel Levy durin

harel levy davis cup tennis 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Israel’s Davis Cup team will need a remarkable comeback if it’s to avoid a World Group first round defeat in Coquimbo, Chile.

Dudi Sela and Harel Levy claimed the first set in their respective singles matches on Saturday, but both eventually dropped to four-set defeats, leaving Israel in a 2-0 deficit against Chile and in serious trouble heading into Sunday’s doubles encounter.

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Sela (66) lost 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to Nicolas Massu (92) in the first game of the day, before Levy (118) fell to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Fernando Gonzalez (10).

Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will face Gonzalez and Massu in the doubles match on Sunday and only a victory will keep Israel in the tie ahead of Monday’s reverse singles.

Ram is confident he and Erlich can win on Sunday, despite the fact that they have only played one match together since last November, losing in the first round in Acapulco, Mexico just under two weeks ago.

“We are facing a tough team,” Ram said. “They play very well in the Davis Cup and have an almost perfect record at home. However, we beat them in our previous two meetings and I hope we can win for a third time and remain in the tie.”

Levy got his match off to a stunning start, breaking Gonzalez time and again to claim the first set. The Israeli broke in the third and fifth games and never faced a break point in the set, winning 6-2.

After a tight start to the second set, Gonzalez broke Levy in the sixth game, with the Israeli fuming, claiming the line judge had called the ball out during the break point.

However, Levy’s protest fell on death ears and Gonzalez quickly tied the match.

A delightful drop shot by Gonzalez gave him a break of serve in the seventh game of the third set on his way to a 2-1 lead in the match and after breaking once more in the third game of the fourth set he raced to the victory.

In the first match of the day, Sela got off to a good start, coming into the net and dictating the pace against Massu.

Sela won nine of 15 points at the net and broke the Chilean three times in the set on his way to a 6-4 victory.

The Israeli continued his momentum at the start of the second set as well, leading 2-1. However, Massu soon seized control with his top spin forehand, reeling off five straight games to tie the match.

Massu continued to dominate in the third set, breaking in the first game and never looking back on his way to a 2-1 lead in the encounter.

A break in the fourth game of the fourth set gave Sela a 3-1 lead, but he lost his serve immediately and was broken once more in the ninth game. Sela continued to fight in the subsequent game, but in Massu’s third match point the Israeli sent a forehand into the net and the Chilean triumphed.

“I needed to be more patient and a little more experience on clay could have also helped,” Sela said. “I gave him a lot of free points. I wasn’t at my best and he played well.

The Chileans were the favorites before the tie, but we are doing our best and hopefully we can take the point in the doubles match.”

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