Sela bows out in round two in Melbourne

Dudi Sela was beaten in the second round of the Australian Open by Slovakia's Lukas Lacko.


The result was a bitter disappointment for the Israeli who was looking to reach the third round of the Melbourne grand slam for the third successive season.

Sela began as the strong favourite, having won six of his previous seven encounters with Lacko who is ranked 121, more than 50 places below Sela's 67. A crowd of more than 200 Israeli and Jewish fans in the stands in court 13 were jubilant when Sela comfortably won the first set 6-2.

Early on, Sela seemed to be carrying on where he had left off on Monday when he powered his way past Spain's Marcel Granollers – the world number 38 - in four sets. But Lacko , who had an even better first-round victory, dispatching another Spaniard, Albert Ramos Vinolas, the 26th seed fought back superbly in the second set.

Lacko began to show his mettle and never looked back after breaking Sela's serve at 3-3 and taking the set 6-3. Suddenly Sela looked tired and vulnerable and was guilty of a series of forced errors as the Slovakian took the next two sets 6-2, 6-4.

The defeat is a major setback to the impressive momentum that Sela has built up in 2017. After reaching the semi-finals of the Chennai Open in India and winning the Canberra Challenger title last week, Sela had risen nearly thirty places in the ATP rankings.

He will now slip back in the rankings having failed to defend the points he won in Melbourne last year by reaching the third round.  

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