Sela conquers Rosol in 2nd round, Rafa next

Longest Grand Slam run for 29-year-old Israeli since 2009; Nadal, Federer survive scares Down Under.

By
January 22, 2015 04:08
3 minute read.
Dudi Sela

Dudi Sela. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

One day Dudi Sela will be telling his grandchildren about the 2015 Australian Open.

Sela, ranked No. 106 in the world, will face Rafael Nadal (3) in the third round in Melbourne on Friday after making it past the second round of a grand slam tournament for the first time since 2009 on Wednesday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Sela upset world No. 30 and 28th seed, Lukas Rosol, 7-6 (2), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to make it through to the third round of the Australian Open for just the second time in his career after first doing so in 2009.

The furthest Sela has ever gone in a grand slam event is the fourth round, losing to Novak Djokovic in the last 16 at Wimbledon also in 2009.

He will have to record a remarkable upset to repeat that accomplishment in Melbourne this year after 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.

“It is fun to start the year like this,” said Sela, who is set to return to the world’s top-90. “I played a little better than I did in the first round and was given a great push by the many Israelis and Jews in the stands. It will be a completely different story against Nadal in the next round and I will have to be very ready and aggressive and hope that he won’t be having a good day to have any chance.”

Nadal, who had admitted before the start of the tournament that he was probably not ready for a tilt at the title after being absent for several months in 2014 with injury and illness, has lost to players ranked outside the top-50 in five of his past six ATP Tour tournaments.



Nevertheless, Sela understands that the outcome of Friday’s contest will depend almost solely on his rival’s level of performance.

“Of course he will have to be having a pretty bad day and I will have to be having a very good day,” said Sela when asked if he can win. “I need to play well in the important points, because he isn’t just another player. He plays at a level I’m not used to facing. I will need to take my chances and not make many mistakes.

“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.”

Nadal said he felt so ill after the first set that he feared he was going to have to pull out.

The 28-year-old had romped through the first set but was then struck by something that almost made him vomit on court and left him sweating profusely.

“I was close to not continuing. I was dizzy, I felt that I might fall down,” Nadal told reporters after the 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-5 victory over the American.

“At the end of the first set, I start to feel my body very bad, very tired. I don’t know. I was worrying crazy.

“I was suffering a lot. Too much. (It) was not funny today.”

Center court was the backdrop for nerve-shredding tests for some of the coolest heads in the business on Wednesday and with the temperature rising above 32 degrees Celsius (90F), Maria Sharapova showed she has ice in her veins.

She mounted a brilliant counter-attack to fend off fellow Russian Alexandra Panova, a 150th-ranked qualifier playing the match of her life.

Down two breaks of serves at 4-1 in the deciding set, Sharapova clawed back to 5-4 and clobbered a string of forehand winners to save two match-points before marching on to a defiant 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

Men’s second seed Roger Federer was also forced to scrap in the following match on center court, after being thrown by a phantom pain on the little finger of his racket hand during his 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over 48th-ranked Italian Simone Bolelli.

“It felt like a bee stung me,” the 33-year-old said of his troubled finger.

“I was like, ‘this can’t be possible’.

“I’d never had this pain before...

Thankfully it wasn’t so bad at the end.”

Federer remains on course to face Andy Murray in the quarterfinals after the Brit beat Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to retreat to the cool of the shade after 102 impressive minutes.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Related Content

August 19, 2018
Gal Gadot hits Forbes highest-paid actress list

By AMY SPIRO