Israeli tennis player Dudi Sela.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dudi Sela will face Rafael Nadal in the second match of the night session at Rod Laver Arena on Friday, with the Israeli hoping to make the most of the Spaniard’s health difficulties and advance to the fourth round of a grand slam event for just the second time in his career.
An ailing Nadal dug deep into his vast reservoir of grit to stave off American qualifier Tim Smyczek and stagger into the third round after a grueling four hours and 12 minutes on Wednesday.
Nadal’s doctor said on Thursday that he expects the 14-time Grand Slam winner to recover in time for the match against Sela, but admitted there are no guarantees.
“Yesterday’s was a rather extreme situation, but I hope that he is going to recover,” said Dr. Ruiz Cotorro.
“Rafa sweat a lot in the match, and he generated a loss of liquid above normal. In place with high humidity his physiology was stressed.
“It was a set of things: he was sick to his stomach, feeling pain, and was dizzy. He stopped drinking what he usually drinks, because he did not tolerate it well. He drank only water and not recovery fluid.
We will have to see how he recovers, this is not the best scenario.”
Sela, ranked No. 106 in the world, upset world No. 30 and 28th seed Lukas Rosol, to make it through to the third round of a major for the first time since Wimbledon in 2009, when he recorded his best-ever grand slam result, losing to Novak Djokovic in the last 16.
“I’m a little excited,” admitted Sela. “The last time I played at Rod Laver Arena was five years ago. To play in front of 15,000 people, and especially against Nadal, is slightly different. I hope to give him a tough time.
“In the past I used to come to these matches just looking to enjoy myself, but today I have some self-belief, even though I’m as big an underdog as possible.”