Tennis: Sela ousted by Odesnik in Houston

Dudi Sela suffered a surprising second round defeat in the US Clay Court Championship on Thursday in Houston. The Israeli, who is ranked No. 60 in the world, lost 6-3, 7-5 to American Wayne Odesnik (117), suffering a setback in his chase of a top-50 ranking and a berth in this summer's Olympic Games. On Wednesday, Harel Levy (167), who came through qualifying to reach the main draw of the event, lost to Peter Luczak (83) 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. Also Thursday, Israel's Fed Cup team held its first press conference ahead of next weekends World Group playoff against the Czech Republic at Ramat Hasharon. Israel lost to Russia in the World Group earlier this year but will have a chance to return to the group with a win. The Czech's will be coming to Israel over the weekend without their No. 1 player Nicole Vaidisova (No. 15 in the world), who decided to concentrate on her personal career, preferring not to play in the Fed Cup at the moment. "On paper we're the favorites because we're playing at home and because they're coming without their best player," Israel captain Oded Jacob said. "In these competitions, however, there are sometimes surprises. The tie against Russia will help us as the girls will now be calmer and will know how to use the crowd to their advantage." The Czechs' No. 1 player next weekend will be Lucie Safarova (39), with Petra Kvitova (98) or Iveta Benesova (132) to be the side's No. 2 player. Kveta Peschke, who is ranked No. 5 in the world in doubles, will also be coming with the team to Israel. "We're very excited ahead of the tie and we will do all we can to remain among the top eight teams in the world," said Israel's No. 2 Tzipi Obziler, who did most of the talking on Thursday as the team's No. 1 Shahar Pe'er is only returning from a training camp in Spain on Saturday. "On paper it's very good for us that Vaidisova is not coming, but we need to try and win every match regardless of who we're facing. It won't be easy because the players which we will be playing are very good." Meanwhile Roger Federer overpowered Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-2 Thursday at the clay-court Estoril Open to advance to the quarterfinals. The top-ranked Swiss gave a more assured performance than in the first round when he dropped the opening set. Playing in occasional light drizzle, Federer conceded just 10 points in his service games to win in an hour. "The rain really made it difficult today," Federer said. "It's a good test so far." Federer produced two superb passing shots - one forehand, one backhand - on his way to breaking Hanescu's serve in the fourth game of the opening set. The Romanian attempted to put pressure on Federer's backhand but the Swiss hit some of his best shots from that side. Federer broke Hanescu's serve twice in the second set and made 28 unforced errors in the match - roughly half the number he made in his opening match. Federer is beginning the European clay-court season at Estoril after failing to reach a final in four tournaments this year. He has hired coach Jose Higueras, a clay specialist, for the event in Portugal which is part of his preparation for the French Open. Also in the second round, Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic beat eighth-seeded Michael Berrer of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. In the women's event, second-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko beat Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2. Seventh-seeded Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden lost to Ukrainian Olga Savchuk 6-2, 6-2. Maret Ani of Estonia also advanced. AP contributed to this report