Tennis: Sela falls to Safin in 5 sets; Pe'er advacnes

Sela was two points from victory when rain prompted a delay of game in the fourth set.

January 17, 2007 11:59

After defeating 54th-ranked Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in the first round, Dudi Sela continued his heroic play in the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday but came up short against former world No. 1 Marat Safin of Russia in a five-set thriller. Safin, currently ranked 27the in the world, came out strong to win the first set 6:3 but then Sela picked up his game to win the next two sets 7:5, 6:4. In the fourth set, Sela was leading 6:5 with the game tied at 30:30 when rain forced a delay of game. After the roof was in place, the game resumed but Sela was unable to capitalize on his momentum and win the two points he needed to secure victory. Safin evened the score and went on to win the tiebreaker 7-4. The fourth set letdown appeared to break Sela's spirit and he lost the fifth and final set 6:0. Meanwhile, Shahar Pe'er continued her confident play cruising into the third round after defeating Meilen Tu of the United States 6:3, 6:0. Israel's only remaining player in the women's tournament, Tzipora Obziler lost to Russian Vera Zvanoreva (24 in the world) 6:3, 6:4.

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