Sela triumphs at Canberra Challenger

Dudi Sela completed his preparations for this week's Australian Open in style after winning the Men's Singles title at the Canberra Open.


Sela, 31, has targeted a return to the top 50 of the ATP rankings and he did his chance a world of good by beating top seed Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in front of a packed house at the Canberra Tennis Centre. 

Ranked 87, the Israeli raced into a 2-0 lead in the opening set, but the German found his rhythm to win the following seven games to seal the set in 29 minutes.

Sela composed himself as Struff was left frustrated by several line calls and he later received a code violation after smashing his racquet to the ground in anger.

Sela capitalised and went on to secure his 21st Challenger title from 27 finals and claim a $10,800 winner's cheque.

"It's always nice to win a tournament but I felt like he played much better than me today, in the important points I was a bit lucky," Sela said.

"The experience of this stage, that I have been at so many times before, has taught me a lot, and also, to close out the match. 

"He played very well but somehow every time it got to 30-30 I played a really good point, I'm happy I won but I think next time he will beat me."

Asked about his powers of recovery, Sela thanked a strong bank of support in the crowd.

"There were a few Israelis here and it's nice to see the flag of your country all the way over here in Australia. It gives you something," he said.

"If they were not here I'm not sure I could have the motivation to come back and win like I did today."

Sela has been given a tough draw in the first round of the grand slam competition in Melbourne, against no.37, Marcel Granollers.

He is the only Israeli in the main draw after Amir Weintraub and Julia Glushko were eliminated in the qualifiers.

Other players to look out for in Melbourne are American Noah Rubin who faces Bjorn Fratangelo, while Argentine Diego Schwartzman meets the number 22 seed Pablo Cuevas.

In the Women's draw, Camila Giorgi faces an uphill task against 12th seed, Timea Bacsinszky.

Jewish hopes in the Doubles rest on the shoulders of Israel's Jonathan Erlich and American Scott Lipsky. They face Russian duo Karen Khachanov and Andrey Kuznetsov.


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