Dudi Sela’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals of an ATP Tour event for the first time in four months were dashed in Den Bosch, Holland, on Wednesday following a 6-2, 7-5 defeat to Benjamin Becker of Germany.
Sela, ranked No. 107 in the world, ended his streak of six straight first-round exits in Den Bosch, but couldn’t build on his win over Benoit Paire (70) in the opening round. The Israeli struggled desperately on his serve, being broken seven times in the one hour and 16 minute match.
Sela served to tie up the match in the ninth game of the second set, but failed to force a decisive set and Becker (83) quickly wrapped up the win.
Following the loss, Sela will travel from the Netherlands to London ahead of the start of Wimbledon next Monday.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray’s attempted defense of his Wimbledon title was given a boost when he was bumped up to third seed on Wednesday, meaning he will not face either Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer until the semis.
World No. 5 Murray was hoisted up the pecking order thanks to Wimbledon’s unique seeding policy for the men’s singles which takes into account recent grasscourt results.
Twice former champion Nadal, the world No.1, paid the price for failing to get past the second round in the last two years as he was seeded second, with Serbian Djokovic, who Murray beat in last year’s final, hoisted to top seed.
Murray became the first Briton to win the men’s singles title since 1936 last July and will open play on Center Court when the tournament starts on Monday.
Seven-time champion Federer of Switzerland was named as the fourth seed, meaning neither he nor Djokovic, Nadal or Murray can face each other before the semifinals.
Djokovic, champion in 2011, said he was surprised to be top seed.
“A little bit to be honest. I appreciate the respect that I get from the Wimbledon tournament – I always tried to perform my best tennis in this tournament,” he told Eurosport.
“I dreamed to win, which happened in 2011. I had some success there, many semifinals and finals, and it may have affected the decision. It’s a responsibility, an extra pressure if I can say it like that.
“It’s all part of the sport, it’s a privilege and a responsibility I have to overcome as a top player. I have to deliver my best game in London.”
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that does not automatically follow the men’s rankings when seedings are decided.
Instead, officials rely on a three-stage formula which takes into account grass-court performances of the past two seasons.
Murray won last year’s Wimbledon and reached the final in 2012 when he also won the Olympics on the All England Club turf.
In other action, former women’s No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was happy to be back on grass and enjoying her game again after easing into the quarterfinals of the pre-Wimbledon Eastbourne event on Wednesday.
“The grass really suits me”, said the Dane following her 6-3, 6-3 win over unseeded American Sloane Stephens. “I like the fast ball and pace I get from my opponent’s shots.
“I just enjoyed it and I played well out there,” said Wozniacki, who suffered a shock first round defeat on the slow clay of the French Open last month immediately following the broken engagement to professional golfer Rory McIlroy.
Reuters contributed to this report