Dudi Sela ended his season on a high on Sunday, defeating Takao Suzuki 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Yokohama Challenger tournament in Japan.
The 22-year-old Israeli, who is currently ranked a career best No. 66 in the world, is expected to climb a couple more places Monday morning after claiming his seventh career ATP title.
Sunday's victory caps a wonderful year for Sela. He won three Challenger tournaments and entered the top 100 for the first time in his career. He will begin 2008 in prime position to launch an assault on the world's top 50 and could even represent Israel at the Beijing Olympics.
Sela recorded the first break of serve of Sunday's final and led 5-3 in the first set. Suzuki, however, forced a tiebreaker and claimed the first set to the delight of the local fans.
At 4-4 in the second set, Sela went on a match-winning five-game run that gave him a commanding lead he would quickly convert into victory.
Also Monday, Shahar Pe'er announced that Spaniard Gabriel Urpi will be her coach for the 2008 season. Urpi, who also guides Italian player Flavia Pennetta, coached former world No. 2 Conchita Martinez in the past. Martinez will also be part of Pe'er's new coaching staff ahead of the coming season.
"I trained with Urpi and Martinez in the last couple of weeks and I'm very pleased," Pe'er said. "There's a good atmosphere in training and I feel very good with them on court. I'm working very hard, training approximately eight hours a day. I'm very happy with my decision."
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