Dudi Sela's run at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships came to a halt in the semifinals early Sunday morning (Israel time), ironically at the hand of the least-known of all his opponents.
Marinko Matosevic of Australia, ranked 173rd in the world, had not won a single match on the ATP circuit this year until he played in the Caloundra Challenger in Australia last month. He swept to victory in that tournament, and then won all three qualifying matches and another three main draw encounters in the Delray tournament in Florida before taking on Sela.
Matovic had lost all three of his previous meetings with Sela, yet he found himself in the final after rebounding against the Israeli to win 5-7, 6-4, 7-6. In the third set, Sela rallied from 5-2 down.
Matosevic had two match points on his serve at 5-3 in the third set, but he made four straight errors. Sela went on to force the tie-breaker but could not keep up the momentum.
Sela's overall performance in Delray, reaching an ATP semifinal for the first time in two years, should move him up this week in the world rankings, from 75th to 65th.
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