Sela sails on in Miami as Pe’er eliminated

Israeli tennis star Sela defeats Australian Marinko Matosevic to set up intriguing meeting with world No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic.

Dudi Sela 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Dudi Sela 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After falling to No. 127 in the world earlier this week, his lowest ranking in almost two years, Dudi Sela recorded an impressive 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 win over Australian Marinko Matosevic on Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the prestigious Sony Open in Miami.
Sela, who came through two rounds of qualifiers to reach the main draw of the $4,330,625 event in Miami, hadn’t reached the second round of an ATP Tour event since his first tournament of 2013.
However, Sela broke Matosevic (51) six times in the one hour and 58 minute encounter to set up an intriguing meeting with world No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic.
Tipsarevic has beaten Sela in their two previous meetings and the Israeli will have to record one of the biggest wins of his career to progress to a third round of an ATP Tour tournament for the first time since last July.
Shahar Pe’er (116) was knocked out in the first round of the women’s event in Miami on Wednesday, losing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to wildcard Eugenie Bouchard (123).
Pe’er can at least draw some encouragement from the fact she won two consecutive matches in the qualifiers to reach the main draw, the first time she has registered a winning streak on the WTA Tour since February 2012.
Meanwhile, the US Open will revert to a 14-day tournament from 2015 after United States Tennis Association (USTA) officials reached an agreement with players on restructuring the playing schedule and increasing prize money.
The USTA announced in December it was adding an extra day in 2013 and 2014 to the last Grand Slam of the year to give players a day off between the semifinals and final, extending the tournament to 15 days with the men’s final being played on a Monday.
But after discussions with players, the USTA announced on Wednesday that the finals would move back to their traditional time slots from 2015, with the men’s championship on Sunday and the women’s title match on Saturday.
“We’ve had conversations for the past several years with the players about the advisability of playing back-to-back on Saturday and Sundays for the semis and finals,” US Open tournament director David Brewer told a news conference.
“It’s simply taken us some time to get to the point where structurally we could provide that promised day of rest, and the day of rest is now locked and loaded going forward.”
The men’s semifinals, which have generally been held the day before the final as part of the US Open’s controversial “Super- Saturday,” would be brought forward by a day to Friday to give the players a rest.
The five-year deal also included a hefty increase in prize money for the US Open.
Officials had already announced this year’s event would increase by $4.1 million to $33.6 million, but said the total purse would be raised to $50 million by 2017.
Reuters contributed to this report.