DUDI SELA CROUCHING 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Dudi Sela pushed world No. 8 Andy Roddick all the way in the final of the China Open on Sunday, but came up just short losing 4-6, 7-6 (6), 3-6 in Beijing.
The 23-year-old Israeli played superb tennis throughout the encounter, but the American's sensational serving was just too much for Sela and Roddick claimed his third title of the year and 26th of his career.
No. 2 Roddick struggled all the way against Sela, who reached the final by beating top-seeded seed David Ferrer, fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo and Rainer Schuettler of Germany. It was the first ATP final of Sela's career.
"It feels very special," Sela said of reaching the final. "I'm really happy and I feel amazing and I hope this won't be my last ATP final."
Sela's loss means that no Israeli has won an ATP title since Amos Mansdorf did so in Washington 15 years ago.
Roddick, however, did not have everything his way. After he broke serve early in the second set, Sela broke back in the sixth game. After a double fault and then a missed shot at the net - which cost the American the game - Roddick teed off and smashed a tennis ball high over the crowd and out of the two-tiered Beijing Tennis Center.
In the second-set tiebreaker, Roddick failed to close out Sela. With Roddick serving and leading the breaker 6-4, Sela won four straight points to take the set. Sela raced to his chair, sat down quickly and clenched his right fist.
In the final set, Sela kept returning Roddick's big serve and frustrated the American repeatedly with clever lobs and passing shots from the backhand and forehand.
Roddick finally broke Sela in the sixth game and then closed out the match with an ace.