Israeli star fails to make a match of encounter with No. 4 seed from Serbia.
By ALLON SINAIPublished: JUNE 30, 2009 07:53Advertisement
Dudi Sela was living a dream for the first week of Wimbledon, but on Monday he was given a rude awakening by world No. 4, Novak Djokovic.
After experiencing a superb first week, defeating Rainer Schuettler in the second round and Tommy Robredo in the third, the 24-year-old Israeli never really found his footing against Serbian star Djokovic, and the 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 score-line told the story of the match.
Djokovic dominated the proceedings from start to finish and was simply too good for Sela, who was so impressive in his first three rounds at the All England Club.
Sela hit just 12 winners compared to 18 unforced errors throughout the match and admitted afterwards that he had felt under pressure in his first ever Grand Slam fourth round encounter.
"Nerves played a part. I think I started very nervous. Also I finished very nervous," Sela said.
"But he is a much better player than all of the guys that I played until today. I think I had a few chances here and there, but also I didn't play aggressive enough.
"I had two days off, and I'm not used to that. Every Grand Slam he's in the second week, so it's a big advantage. He has a lot of experience, and hopefully next time I will do a little bit better."
Despite the disappointing defeat, Sela will take plenty of positives from the past week in London.
"I've got some confidence now for next week for the Davis Cup tie against Russia. It's even more important to me than Wimbledon," said Sela, who will be Israel's number 1 in the quarterfinal tie, which begins at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv next Friday.
"My ranking is going to be much higher. I think I'm going to be 35, something like that. So it's going to be good if I stay in the top 40. I think I learned a lot from this year, and next year hopefully I'm going to do well here."
Sela began Monday's match well enough, holding his first service game to love and leading 40-0 on Djokovic's serve in the third game of the match.
However, the Israeli squandered the opportunity and wouldn't reach another break point in the first set.
The Serbian broke Sela for the first time in the sixth game with a great return and clinched the set with his second break of the match.
After splitting the first six games of the second set, Sela reached a break point in the seventh game, but failed to convert and in the subsequent game was broken.
Despite breaking back immediately, the Israeli lost his serve once more in the 10th game of the set and fell into a hole from which he could not recover.
Djokovic reeled off the first four games of the third set and quickly wrapped up the match and booked his place in the quarterfinals.
"I was dominating throughout the whole match," Djokovic said. "Dudi obviously has quality reaching the fourth round.
"Anybody who reaches a fourth round in a Grand Slam is a quality player, and he beat some good players here in this tournament. So you got to give him credit for that.
"But I needed to be focused and I needed to be aggressive and serve well today and try to open the court and get some opportunities to end up the point, which I did. As I said, I was keeping the control of the match, and I needed to do that in order to finish in straight sets."
Sela entered the match believing he could win it, but acknowledged he was beaten by a better player.
"I felt like I can win this match. He is No. 4 in the world and it's the 4th round, which is unbelievable for me. But I wanted to win this match. I believed that I could win this match," Sela said.
"But unfortunately he played much better today, and he's a very good player and I was nervous and many factors came into it. But hopefully I'm going to have another chance to be in the second week of a Grand Slam tournament and do better."
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