Sela defeated in five-set US Open thriller

Sela defeated in five-set US Open thriller

Israeli loses opening two sets against the number 18 seed, before losing the decider.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Dudi Sela is taking part in his first warm-up event ahead of this year's Wimbledon Championships
Dudi Sela is taking part in his first warm-up event ahead of this year's Wimbledon Championships

Dudi Sela suffered a dramatic first round defeat to Pablo Cuevas at Flushing Meadows on Monday evening.

Sela started the match in encouraging form, and had the chances to break the Uruguayan’s serve in two early games, though spurned them both.

It was the Israeli who lost his third service game to go 3-2 down, and he was broken again when serving to stay in the first set, a double-fault summing up a poor period for the the 31-year-old.

Sela did though claim the first break of serve in the first game of the second set, before holding his serve to go 2-0 up, he was though then broken in his next game with the set leveled up at 2-2. Broken again in his next to fall 4-2 behind, he was then forced to serve his next game to stay in the set, which he was unable to do, losing it 6-2, all with just 62 minutes on the clock.

He started the third set like he started the second, breaking Cuevas in his first game – converting his fourth break point, before holding serve to go 2-0 up. Breaking serve again to go 3-0 up, he then held again to extend his lead to 4-0. Claiming his third successive break to go 5-0 up, he then served out for the third set, taking it 6-0.

The fourth set started as per the previous two, with Sela breaking serve, and then holding to go 2-0 up. However, Cuevas then won his first game in nine, before breaking to level the set at 2-2. However, Sela broke back immediately with a love-game to edge back ahead 3-2, only to be broken himself to see it back level at 3-3. Both men held serve, though Sela only after holding off a break point, to make it 4-4. Cuevas then held his serve to go 5-4, meaning Sela was left serving to stay in the match, which he did after finding himself 0-30 down. He then broke again in the 11th game with a stunning back hand effort, and tied up the match with a love service game, taking it 7-5.

Cuevas stemmed the tide of being broken in the opening game of the set, when he held his first service game in the fifth and final, which was reciprocated by Sela.

The Israeli then needed the doctor to come on court to look at his right wrist, which led to a five-minute delay. On the resumption, Cuevas held his serve, and then broke Sela to take a 3-1 advantage, before holding again to 4-1 up. Needing more treatment from the doctor, he held his serve to take it 4-2 and was then on break point when Cuevas called for the doctor. Saving that point, he couldn’t though save the second break point as Sela pulled it back to 4-3. He was though broken again in his next game, meaning Cuevas had the chance to serve out for the match, which he did, winning it 6-3, a match which lasted three hours and two minutes.

Sela was Israel’s only singles player in the tournament after Amir Weintraub and Julia Glushko were knocked out in the qualifiers.

His US Open isn’t over yet though, as he’s also playing in the doubles competition, where teaming up with Frenchman Stephane Robert, they take on German Andre Begemann and India’s Leander Paes.

Other Israeli interest is also in the men’s doubles, where Jonathan Erlich and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez take on Argentine duo Guillermo Duran and Maximo Gonzalez.

Elsewhere, Argentine Schwartzman takes on compatriot Juan Martin del Potro in the first round. In what will be his third appearance at the tournament, he reached the first round in 2014 and second in 2015.

Noah Rubin, who won the Wimbledon junior boys title in 2014, failed to book his place in the main draw after he lost his third and final qualifier to Russian Karen Khachanov. Getting off to a great start, winning the first set 6-3, he then lost the second and third, both 6-4.

Rubin will though be taking part in the men’s doubles after he and American Daniel Nguyen received a wild card. They will face Australian Nick Kyrgios and GB’s Daniel Evans in the first round.

In the women’s draw, Italian Camila Giorgi has been handed a tough opening match, drawn against the 16th seed, Australian Samantha Stosur.

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