Israel's Dudi Sela Succeeds Where Rafa Nadal Failed and Defeats Fernando Verdasco

Martyn Herman
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Dudi Sela of Israel celebrates after defeating Fernando Verdasco of Spain in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships, Melbourne, Australia, January 21, 2016.
Dudi Sela of Israel celebrates after defeating Fernando Verdasco of Spain in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships, Melbourne, Australia, January 21, 2016.Credit: AP
Martyn Herman

REUTERS - Israel's world number 87 Dudi Sela succeeded where Rafael Nadal failed when he subdued Spain's Fernando Verdasco to reach the Australian Open third round on Thursday.

Verdasco, who stunned the 14-times grand slam champion in a five-set epic, won the opening set against the Israeli but faded to lose 4-6 6-3 6-3 7-6(4).

The Spaniard looked fatigued from his exploits against Nadal while the diminutive Sela, cheered on by a flag-waving contingent of fans, struggled with nerves near the end.

Verdasco's cause was not helped by consecutive double-faults in the fourth set tiebreak, gifting Sela a 5-2 lead.

He managed to save a match point but finished the job with a well-struck backhand return that Verdasco netted.

Sela, 30, will now play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or Russian Andrey Kuznetsov for a place in the fourth round of a grand slam for only the second time in his career.

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