Dudi Sela was left to reflect on his one of his “most disappointing ever” Wimbledon campaigns – though quipped how it was also the quickest, after he was emphatically beaten in straight sets by David Ferrer on Monday afternoon.
Falling to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 defeat in just 75 minutes, the 31-year-old, who was Israel’s sole representative at this year’s Championships, told jewishnews.co.uk: “It’s been one of the most disappointing Wimbledon’s and definitely the quickest!
“I felt really good before the match, not so much now! I felt really ok going into the match, he’s not at his best right now and I thought this was a good time to play him, in the first round – but it didn’t work out.”
Trying to explain the comprehensive defeat, he said: “I was playing really nervous at the beginning and made a lot of mistakes, though he didn’t give me anything. But I felt really not good, with the return shots especially and I don’t know why. I felt good after a few good performances in Nottingham, and ok after practice yesterday. But I felt nervous today and I don’t know why. When you lose and play well, it’s ok, but I didn’t even sweat today and the match was over just like that.”
Being broken in the first game of the first set proved to be a sign of things to come. Losing his second serve at 3-1 down, Ferrer than made it a hat-trick of breaks to take the first set 6-2 with just 26 minutes on the clock.
The start of the second offered a glimmer of hope, as he took Ferrer’s serve to deuce, though the Spaniard held his serve, and then broke Sela again in the second game to once again take a 3-1 lead. Broken again in his next game as Ferrer took a 5-1 lead, he served out the second set, with him firmly in control.
The third set proved to be a case of lighting striking thrice, as Sela was broken on his first serve – a double-fault summing up his afternoon. He reacted by earning his first break point of the match, though couldn’t take it, and was broken in his next two serve as Ferrer took it 6-1 – and the match.
Continuing to reflect on his performance, he said: “When I saw the draw, I knew it was a tough one, but I thought I was playing ok. It’s not as if he’s a big server, I felt if I could play well from the baseline, I could win, but it was a complete disaster today, I didn’t find my rhythm, especially in the return games. He wasn’t acing me, but I missed a lot of second serve returns at the beginning of the match. There were a lot of easy balls I went too, too much after my serve. I played ok in Nottingham, played a few nice games there on grass, and thought that would be good for me. He played ok, but I gave him the match, he didn’t have to play well.
“I felt good in the first game in the second set, got him to deuce, and I felt ok, maybe it would change…But I lost that game, was then broken and again I was nervous and allowed him to run away with the match. I tried to be aggressive at the beginning, but missed so many balls, which affected my confidence. I then thought I’d play solid, get a lot of balls back, played it short, but he punished me again. Hopefully it was just a bad day at the office.
Sela’ defeat was the first of three Jewish losses on the first day of action. Italian Camila Giorgi faced a daunting task in the women’s singles draw, when she took on the second seed, French Open champion, Garbine Muguruza, on centre court. However, she gave the Spaniard an almighty scare, eventually going down 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
Argentine Diego Schwartzman was involved in a five-set epic on Monday evening, though also ultimately suffered defeat against the Netherlands’ Robin Haase 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
However, Sela’s stay at SW19 isn’t over yet. He will be teaming up with Sela Frenchman Stephane Robert in the doubles, with them taking on Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Russian Mikhail Youzhny in their first round clash.
Other Israeli interest sees Jonathan Erlich and GB’S Colin Fleming face a tough opening doubles match, against the third seeds, GB’s Jamie Murray and Brazilian Bruno Soares, while Yshai Oliel will be representing Israel in the junior event, the tournament getting underway on Day 6 of the tournament.
Later in the week, American Scott Lipsky and Mexican Santiago González face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis and American Denis Kudla, while Schwartzman is also involved in the doubles, where alongside compatriot Federico Delbonis, they take on GB duo Kyle Edmund and James Ward.