Winning his first round match in Melbourne since 2009, the Israeli, ranked 105 in the world, beat his German opponent, who sits just outside the top-50 rankings.
Getting off to fine start, he won the first set 6-4, only to then find himself 2-1 down, having lost the second and third sets 6-4 and 6-3. However, battling back in fine style, he won the fourth set 6-3, before winning the fifth and final deciding set 7-5.
He next faces Czech Lukas Rosol, who’s ranked 28 in the world, on Wednesday, and should he win that, will in all probability face a dauting third round match against Rafael Nadal.
Sela is Israel’s only singles player in the competition following defeats suffered by both Shahar Peer and Julia Glushko in the women’s singles qualifying rounds. Meaning there was no Israeli female player taking part in the Australian Open since 1998, Glushko said: “I’m really disappointed. I didn’t expect to open the year like this, especially after the successful week I had in Auckland. I couldn’t get into the match and at one stage I just felt like I was losing control. I will study this match and learn what I can improve on for the future.”
Peer’s loss means she misses out of the main draw in Melbourne for the first time since 2005.
There is though Israeli interest in the doubles competition. Jonathan Erlich is teaming up with Treat Huey of the Phillipines, and they have been drawn against Serbian Dusan Lajovic and Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round of the men’s doubles.
Peer is also involved in the women’s doubles, where she and German Annika Beck take on GB’s Heather Watson and Russian Alexandra Panova in their first round tie.