Tennis: Sela moves up to career-best 56 in the world

The 24-year-old thrashed Alexandros Georgoudas of Germany 6-1, 6-0, just hours after hearing he had improved his previous career best ranking by a single spot.

Dudi Sela 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Dudi Sela 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Dudi Sela celebrated reaching a career best number 56 in the world rankings on Monday by advancing to the second round of the Rhodes Challenger tournament in Greece. The 24-year-old thrashed Alexandros Georgoudas of Germany 6-1, 6-0, just hours after hearing he had improved his previous career best ranking by a single spot. Sela, who is seeded first in the 85,000 Euro event, next faces American Amer Delic. Yoni Erlich will make his long awaited return from injury in Rhodes this week, teaming-up with Amir Hadad with the hope of building up his fitness levels before rejoining Andy Ram in the ATP's top events. Erlich hasn't played a professional match since the second round of the US Open in August of last year. Ram is playing with Max Mirnyi in the Rome Masters this week, with the duo receiving a first round bye after being seeded seventh. Shahar Pe'er, who is playing in Fes, Morocco, this week, remained at No. 53 in the world. Rafael Nadal will return to the scene of one of his rare losses on clay at the Rome Masters, which began Monday with eight of the world's top 10 players entered. A year ago, Nadal's run of three consecutive Rome titles was snapped with a second-round loss to fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero. Nadal's only other loss on clay in the last four years came to Roger Federer at the Hamburg Masters in 2007. Nadal was bothered by a large blister on the bottom of his foot against Ferrero, and he is undefeated on clay since then. Federer has refocused on his tennis after getting married and then promptly losing to fellow Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters. The 13-time Grand Slam winner spent the last week in intensive training with his fitness coach Pierre Paganini, grinding out daily four-hour practice sessions on Italian clay courts. "I'm expecting big things from myself, especially looking ahead for the French Open," Federer said Sunday on the eve of the Rome Masters, a key clay-court tuneup for Roland Garros, which begins May 25. "I would like to go extremely far there and create the opportunity to win the one slam I haven't won yet. Monaco for me was just 'Let's see how it goes,'" the second-ranked Federer said. "With the wedding before I didn't have the preparation.... I didn't expect to win the tournament, so I don't think we have to look too much into how I played there. "I was missing serves and missing forehands. That's what I was trying to tighten up now, in this last week, when I was practicing extremely hard. I hope that this week it's going to show a little bit." Federer entered Monte Carlo immediately after marrying longtime girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec and the straight-set loss to Wawrinka stretched his title drought to seven tournaments. Federer said he concentrated on his movement with Paganini, and had 219th-ranked Stefan Koubek along as a hitting partner. "The movement part is the big part on clay. The best clay-court players are the ones that move the best," Federer said, adding that his back troubles are long behind him. Federer was upset by Radek Stepanek in the Rome quarterfinals last year. He will likely open up against Ivo Karlovic this time if the big-serving Croatian gets by a qualifier.