Tennis: Sela finds his form to advance at Indian Wells

24-year-old Israeli beats American Jesse Levine 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour to book a second round meeting with No. 14 seed Radek Stepanek.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
After losing seven of his past eight matches, including his last five, and plummeting 32 places to No. 72 in the world rankings, Dudi Sela finally returned to winning ways on Friday in the prestigious Indian Wells tournament in California.
The 24-year-old Israeli beat American Jesse Levine 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour to book a second round meeting with No. 14 seed Radek Stepanek.
Shahar Pe’er, who got a first-round bye in the women’s event in Indian Wells as the No. 17 seed, faced American wild-card Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round late Saturday night.
Meanwhile, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki fought back for a win in her first tournament in a month while former champion Justine Henin was eliminated from the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
Denmark’s Wozniacki was 4-1 down in the third set before overcoming American Vania King 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to progress to the third round.
Henin, playing her third tournament since ending a 19-month retirement and first since reaching the Australian Open final, lost to Gisela Dulko of Argentina, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Elena Dementieva, seeded fourth, was also extended to three sets before the Russian downed Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, while fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland progressed when Russian opponent Anna Chakvetadze retired when trailing 6-2, 5-3.
Maria Sharapova, seeded 10th, was another title contender forced tofight hard in the second round, overcoming Russian compatriot VeraDushevina 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Henin, who retired in May, 2008, while No. 1 in the world, had reachedthe finals at Brisbane, Australia, and in the Australian Open in herprevious tournaments since her comeback. But against Dulko, the 31stseed, the Belgian struggled on serve, saving just 2 of 8 break points.
“It was a tough day today, I agree,” said Henin, who will be somewherebetween No. 30 and 35 when she returns to the rankings on March 22.