In stellar season, surging Dudi Sela snags Tashkent tennis title

The 28-year-old Israeli is expected to climb on Monday more than 15 places from his current position at No. 87.

Dudi Sela 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Dudi Sela 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dudi Sela claimed his third Challenger Tour title of the year on Sunday, defeating Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the $125,000 tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The 28-year-old Israeli is expected to climb on Monday more than 15 places from his current position at No. 87 in the world and is set to reach his highest ranking since last May.
Sela dominated Gabashvili throughout the match, racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set and never looking back after breaking for a 2-1 advantage in the second set.
After also triumphing in Busan, South Korea and Astana, Kazakhstan, earlier this year, Sela took his career total to 16 Challenger titles on Sunday.
Sela will return to the ATP Tour this week when he takes part in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
“I had a good week and I really enjoyed it,” said Sela. “I played pretty well in all my matches and I now face another important week in Moscow, so I hope I can display the same level of tennis.”
Djokovic crowned in Shanghai
Elsewhere, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic produced a magical display to overcome the ferocious hitting of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and successfully defend the Shanghai Masters title on Sunday.
The Serbian triumphed 6-1, 3-6 ,7-6 (3) to complete a brilliant fortnight on the Chinese hard courts after he defended his China Open in Beijing last week. It was the 26-year-old’s 20th consecutive win in China.
After Del Potro defeated world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s semifinals with some powerful hitting, Djokovic was eager to avoid giving the Argentine any room to find his rhythm in the early stages.
Djokovic quickly wrapped up the first set in 34 minutes but a rejuvenated Del Potro fought back gamely in the second, turning the tables on the Serbian with some powerful hitting of his own.
Neither man gave an inch at the start of a tense third set where the hitting intensified as Del Potro sensed his first Masters title.
However, the Serbian’s renowned athletic steel finally made the difference in the tiebreak, with Del Potro, who won last week in Japan, finally appearing to tire.
“The whole third set was give and take.. Just in the important moments I managed to play some better shots than he did,” Djokovic said.
Del Potro added: “I am very proud of myself. I did everything, I fought every single point but he is so good and I think he deserved to win.”
Meanwhile, Roger Federer announced he has split from his American coach Paul Annacone, with the struggling Swiss saying on Saturday that it was the best time to make a change.
“After a terrific 31⁄2 years working together, Paul and I have decided to move on to the next chapter in our professional lives,” the 32-year-old Federer said on his website.
Reuters contributed to this report