Tennis: Sela's misery continues with 1st round defeat in Shanghai

Tennis Selas misery co

By AP
October 12, 2009 02:32
3 minute read.

 
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Dudi Sela's crisis continued to deepen on Sunday after he suffered an embarrassing 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 loss to world number 396 Shao-Xuan Zeng in the first round of the Shangahi Masters. The 24-year-old Israeli has been in dire straits in the last couple of months, with Sunday's inexplicable defeat extending his losing streak to eight matches, including his defeat in the first day of the Davis Cup semifinals against Spain. The 44th-ranked Sela, who has reached a semifinal and two quarterfinals on tour this season, appeared to be headed for a straightforward victory when he captured the first set by winning the last five games. But he fell apart in the second set, winning only one game when he broke Zeng's serve in the fifth. The Israeli surrendered his serve in the opening game of the third set, pulled even to 4-4 before losing the final two games of the match. "I think that the crowd, their cheers are very helpful for me," Zeng said. "They're always cheering for me." Zeng will now face fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who won the Japan Open in Tokyo on Sunday. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic won the China Open in Beijing with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over Croatia's Marin Cilic, and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 6-4 in the women's final on Sunday. The second-seeded Serb broke Cilic's serve in the sixth game and again in the eighth to take the first set following a 90-minute rain delay. The second set was much tighter, with each breaking the other's serve three times to force the tiebreak. But Cilic then struggled, and his return at 6-4 went wide, handing Djokovic the win. "My patience and the choice of certain shots and a little more experience than he has decided the winner today," said Djokovic, who has won all four encounters between the two, all on hard courts. "Whenever I needed to step it up and play some big shots that would decide the match, I did." The sixth-seeded Kuznetsova needed just 1 hour, 20 minutes to complete her victory, racking up six aces along the way. "I guess I just like to play here," she said. "I have some different luck here and definitely like the atmosphere. The support is great." The third-ranked Djokovic's path to the title was eased by Cilic's upset of top-seeded Rafael Nadal in Saturday's semifinal. The rain delay also appeared to have been a factor, allowing Djokovic time to regroup. "I certainly played much better after the rain delay," he said. "I kind of got my nerves together and thought of the tactics and the plan that I should play in the continuation of the match. "I was very fresh on the court after that. What makes my success in the second set even bigger is that I managed to save the concentration, to maintain the focus and get back into the match." Cilic struggled to find his range throughout the match and had two chances to force a third set before the tiebreaker when serving at 5-4 and 6-5. Djokovic broke him both times. Djokovic was flying directly to Shanghai to compete in this week's Shanghai Masters. Kuznetsova has already qualified for the season-ending WTA Tour Championship in Doha at the end of the month, and said she will spend some time in Moscow practicing before arriving in the Persian Gulf a week early to acclimatize to the conditions. In Tokyo, second-seeded Tsonga defeated Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Japan Open for his third title of the season. "Today, I played perfect, just like yesterday," said Tsonga, who hit 11 aces and won in just 69 minutes. "When I play like that it is tough for my opponent to win." Tsonga advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Gael Monfils on Saturday. The world's seventh-ranked player notched his third title of the season, following wins at Johannesburg and Marseille. With Sunday's win, Tsonga boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals in November. The Frenchman is pushing for one of the three remaining singles berths at the season climax to be held in London Nov. 22-29.

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