Dudi Sela
Dudi Sela. Photo by AP
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Dudi Sela yesterday gave 13th-seed Mikhail Youzhny a run for his money, but the Russian ultimately prevailed in the first round of the Wimbledon championships in four sets, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6. Youzhny, ranked 15th in the world, looked well on his way to sweeping Sela, the worldwide number 60, but the Israeli picked up his game in the third set.

Sela was actually broken in the first game but returned the favor in the second game. After both players held serve, Sela broke Youzhny in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, an edge he was able to preserve to take the set.

The fourth set started out exactly like the third, except that Sela allowed the Russian to break him twice in a row. While Sela recovered with a break to even the set at 4-4 and keep up with the favorite after that, Youzhny dominated the tiebreak 7-2 to send the Israeli to an early exit.

Elsewhere in the men's singles, two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling breezed into the second round with a rapid 6-2 6-2 6-3 demolition of American Robby Ginepri. The Swedish sixth seed has never gone beyond the final 16 in seven previous visits to the All England Club but his total dominance of world number 72 Ginepri more than hinted he could progress further this year.

Soderling was far from rusty despite not having played since losing the Roland Garros final to Rafael Nadal earlier this month, with Ginepri blown off court in just 78 minutes.

On the women's side, third seed Caroline Wozniacki shone as she raced into the second round with a 6-1 6-1 victory over Italy's Tathiana Garbin. The 19-year-old Dane, making her fourth appearance at the grass court grand slam, produced some rasping winners to delight a Court One crowd enjoying the early evening sunshine.

She needed just 47 minutes to overpower the 32-year-old Garbin and will face either Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands or Kai Chen-Chang of Taiwan in the next round. Wozniacki, who reached the fourth round here last year, is the only teenager amongst the world's top 10.