Israel's Sela retires in 3rd-round clash with Dimitrov

Israel’s Oliel advances in juniors, Federer, Djokovic ease into last-16 and Kerber, Wozniacki move on.

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July 8, 2017 23:16
3 minute read.
Dudu Sela Wimbeldon

DUDI SELA’S impressive run at Wimbledon came to an end yesterday, as the 32-year-old Israeli fell to Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, retiring after losing the first two sets 6-1, 6-1.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Dudi Sela’s Wimbledon adventure ended in disappointing fashion in the third round on Saturday after he was forced to retire while trailing Grigor Dimitrov by two sets.

The Israel No. 1 registered one of the biggest wins of his career to reach the last 32 at the All England Club, defeating No. 23 seed John Isner in a five-set thriller that lasted three hours and 52 minutes on Thursday. Sela also battled Marcel Granollers of Spain for five sets in the first round, and with just two days of rest between his matches, was unable to recover in time for his clash with Dimitrov.

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The world No. 11 from Bulgaria held a 6-1, 6-1 lead when Sela throw in the white towel, bringing to an end his best performance at Wimbledon since reaching the fourth round in 2009.

“My legs already felt heavy in the warm up, especially my right leg,” said Sela, who will still climb around 20 places in the world rankings up to around No. 70 and will also leave with a check of 90,000 pounds.

“When I began moving I felt like a strained a muscle. I thought I might be able to overcome it, because I was also in pain against Isner and sometimes playing helps the pain go away. But this was different. I was in pain from the start and played until I felt I really couldn’t move anymore.”

The 32-year-old Israeli doesn’t believe he is suffering from a serious injury and he is looking forward to the rest of 2017.

“I hadn’t won two matches here since 2009 so this helps my confidence,” said Sela, who entered the tournament on the back of his 22nd career title on the Challenger tour. “I played two long matches and it affected me. My goal is to pick up as many ranking points as possible and to return to the top 50.”



Following Sela’s defeat, the only remaining Israeli at Wimbledon is junior Yshai Oliel. The 17-year-old advanced to the second round of the boys’ tournament on Saturday, defeating American Alexandre Rotsaert 6-3, 6-2.

The most exciting part of Oliel’s day arrived well before his match when he was invited to practice with Roger Federer, who was preparing for his duel with Mischa Zverev.

Federer eased into the last-16, where he will face Dimitrov, with a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4 victory over the German serve-volley expert to stay on course for a record eighth Wimbledon title.

The 35-year-old Swiss is looking to become the oldest man in the professional era to win the title and has not dropped a set in his opening three encounters at this year’s tournament.

Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic roared his way into the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (2) defeat of unpredictable Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

The 30-year-old Serb began slowly before taking control and then snuffed out a Gulbis counter-attack in the third set to set up a clash with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

“I’m delighted, I raised my level of tennis today compared to the first two rounds,” said Djokovic, who has reached the second week for the 10th time.

“This was the most focused I’ve been on the court for the last couple of weeks.”

In the women’s singles, Garbine Muguruza thrashed Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to set up a fourthround meeting with Angelique Kerber in a battle of the last two Wimbledon runners- up.

Like Kerber in 2016, Muguruza was felled by Serena Williams in the 2015 final.

Kerber, who has struggled for form in recent months, lived dangerously for more than two hours on Saturday before eventually securing a fourth-round place with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over Shelby Rodgers.

Elsewhere, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki came within two points of defeat against unseeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit before recovering to win 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 and reach the fourth round.

The Dane, seeded fifth, was getting overpowered as she trailed by a set and 3-5 to the powerful Kontaveit but she hung on grimly and turned the match around.

Her next task will be to break through to the quarterfinals for the first time. She faces American big-hitter Coco Vandeweghe in the fourth round on Monday.

There will be no action at the All England Club on Sunday, with the tournament taking off the traditional

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