Wimbledon: Sela is supreme while Shahar crashes out
Dudi Sela becomes first Israeli man in 15 years to reach the third round of Wimbledon's singles draw.
By ALLON SINAI
Dudi Sela became the first Israeli man in 15 years to reach the third round of Wimbledon's singles draw on Wednesday, defeating 18-seeded Rainer Schuettler 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2.
Amos Mansdorf was the last Israeli to play in the last 32 at the All England Club, losing to eventual finalist Goran Ivanisevic in 1994.
On Wednesday, Sela was in divine form against Schuettler, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, recovering from a poor start to control the match against the German.
"I didn't think I played that great," Sela told The Jerusalem Post.
"I played okay, but it was a good match-up for me, opponent-wise."
Next up for the 24-year-old Israeli is a tough encounter with world No. 15 Tommy Robredo.
The Spaniard recovered from a two-set deficit on Wednesday, defeating Austria's Stefan Koubek 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1.
"I've played him before and beat him but he's a tough player," said Sela, who has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Robredo, who has also never been past the third round at Wimbledon.
"It will be a difficult match. He has a lot of experience, he's made the latter stages of other Grand Slams and knows how to play these matches. But I will give it my best. I'm always confident and believe that I can beat anyone."
Shahar Pe'er didn't fare as well as Sela on Wednesday, losing 6-3, 6-2 in the second round to world No. 10, Nadia Petrova.
"I didn't play well, I wasn't hitting the ball well enough and made too many mistakes," said Pe'er, who is playing in her first tournament in over a month following a foot injury.
"I had a couple of chances to break her serve, I had her at 0-30 a couple of times and at break points, but I wasn't aggressive enough."
The 22-year-old, who will now drop in the world rankings after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, was broken in the fourth game of the match and after squandering break points in the ninth game lost the first set.
Petrova broke in the first game of the second set and never looked back after that, cruising to an easy victory.
"There was no particular reason why I didn't play well, nothing that I can point out," Pe'er told the Post.
"I would have liked to have had more time to practice, but playing on grass isn't the problem. There's no excuse."
Sela dropped his serve in the second game of his match against Schuettler and seemed to be in real trouble after falling to a 5-2 deficit.
However, the magician from Kiryat Shmona reeled off three straight games to tie the score and controlled the eventual tiebreak to open a crucial lead.
An excellent backhand winner gave Sela the first break of the second set to open a 4-2 advantage and he wrapped up the set with an ace in the ninth game.
Sela broke the German's spirit by breaking serve in the first game of the third set and quickly booked his place in the third round.
"The first set was a close one - he was leading 5-2 and he played very well," said Sela, who hit 44 winners compared to 23 unforced errors.
"I then played a good game to break him at 4-3 and after that I think I played better than him."
Andy Ram and Max Mirnyi, who are seeded seventh in the doubles tournament, advanced to the second round on Wednesday, beating Santiago Gonzalez and Travis Rettenmaier 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in a three hour and 20 minute marathon match.
Yoni Erlich and Andy Murray's brother, Jamie, were sent packing, however, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach in the first round.
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