The top Israeli men’s tennis player, Dudi Sela, advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open in New York Monday night, after winning a thrilling five-set match against Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
Currently ranked 77th in the world, Sela took the hour-long first set on a tie-break, despite not playing any winners throughout the entire set. Breaking his opponent’s serve twice in the 30-minute second set, Sela cruised to a 2-0 lead and looked well on his way to making the second round for the fourth time in his career.
However, Kuznetsov, ranked six places below Sela, didn’t give up so easily and won the third-set tie-break. When he also took the fourth set, it appeared the momentum was going against his Israeli opponent. With both players tiring, however, Sela broke serve three times in the final set to secure a dramatic victory.
Next up for Sela is Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic, the tournament’s 18th seed. The Israeli has never progressed beyond the second round in New York, but did make the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2009. Last year, he failed to advance to the qualifying round at Flushing Meadows.
Israel’s only other representative at the U.S. Open, Julia Glushko, also faces a Russian in the first round. After successfully navigating the minefield of qualifiers, Glushko will come up against 20th-seed Nadia Petrova later Tuesday, hoping to at least emulate her performance last year, when she made it all the way to the Grand Slam tournament’s fourth round.