Israel No. 1 Dudi Sela was unable to repeat his heroics of 2009 after going down in four sets against 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny on Court 8 on day two at Wimbledon.
Having reached round four and ousting former top 10 player Marat Safin last year, a resilient Sela gave the powerful Russian a run for his money.
He lost the first two sets before battling back to win the third. The baseliner failed to capitalise on two sets points in the fourth before eventually losing the tie-break, going down 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7).
Sela said: “I started very badly. He didn’t do anything, but played long rallies.
“I played more solidly and didn’t try any crazy shots. I had my chances but I played too negatively. I felt good going into the tie-break and my aim was to play solid tennis, but it wasn’t to be.”
Sela was ruing coming up against a top 20 player first up. “The draw is very important at Wimbledon. You expect a player ranked 13th in the world to be good on hard courts and grass.”
Reflecting on a tough year which saw him slip down the rankings, Sela said: “Over the last 12 months, I had a bad schedule and played too many tournaments. I suffered a hip injury and when I returned I felt very confident. I spent six weeks in the United States, playing at my favourite tournaments, earning lots of points.”
Sela was full of praise for compatriot Shahar Peer, who was looking to break into the top 10 in the ladies rankings. “Shahar has been playing very well. Her coach has done an amazing job and I think that she’s a top 10 player for sure.”
Peer will be in action against Germany’s Angelique Kerber on Court 5 today.