Sela’s reward for five-set comeback: Date with Federer

Dudi Sela will face Roger Federer in the second round of the US Open after coming back from two sets down for the first time in his career.

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August 31, 2011 14:34
3 minute read.
Dudi Sela

Dudi Sela 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Dudi Sela will face Roger Federer in the second round of the US Open after coming back from two sets down for the first time in his career on Monday night, beating Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in a match that took three hours and 27 minutes.

The 26-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 93 in the world, seemed set for another early Grand Slam exit against Bellucci (35), but he never stopped fighting and with the help of some raucous support on Court 13 he battled back for his biggest win of the year.

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“It is fun to come back from two sets down,” Sela said. “I didn’t play well at the start of the match, but I maintained my composure and continued to battle. In the next round I’m playing Federer and I’ll just try to enjoy it as much as possible and play freely because I have nothing to lose.”

Sela was down two sets and a break against Bellucci after losing his serve in the third game of the third set.

However, the Israeli broke back in the sixth game and another break in the 10th game gave him the third set.

Sela would open a quick 3-0 lead in the fourth and wouldn’t look back after that, winning 14 of the final 17 games.

Despite his superb effort in the first round, something truly extraordinary will have to happen if he’s to overcome the greatest player of all time in Federer.

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Sela has met the Swiss master, currently ranked No. 3, once before in the first round of the French Open in 2005 and he will first and foremost be aiming to win more than the five games that he managed in that 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 defeat.

Federer showed that time was still on his side as he rang the closing bell on Monday’s opening day with a quick victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Federer, who turned 30 earlier this month, completed a clockwork 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over 56th-ranked Colombian Santiago Giraldo to the delight of the Flushing Meadows night crowd.

The 106-minute sweep was the first step in Federer’s quest to add to his grand slam record of 16 men’s singles titles with a sixth US Open crown.

A sixth title in New York would also break his tie with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for the most since tennis turned professional in 1968.

“It was a great atmosphere, great ovation when I walked out,” said Federer, who is also eyeing an Open victory to extend a remarkable string of winning at least one grand slam title in eight straight years.

“I really enjoyed it. “It’s always one of those moments I guess you train for the first night at the US Open.”

Federer had little trouble disposing of clay court specialist Giraldo but the Swiss was not at his precision best, committing 35 unforced errors.

He looked shaky on serve-andvolley points by winning just one of six, while cashing in on 23 of 37 advances to the net.

Federer said the new surface at Flushing Meadows played slower than before and that he consciously had decided to work on coming to the net in the match.

“As the match went on, I think I started to get more solid and better, and that’s a good feeling to have,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report

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