EXCLUSIVE: Dudi Sela targets significant ranking rise in the remainder of the season

Dudi Sela is pleased in his upturn in form and hopes to recapture the ATP Challenger crown at the Aegon Open in Nottingham on Sunday.

Sela advanced to the final following second seed Marius Copil’s retirement in their semifinal match where the Israeli was leading 7-6(4), 1-0. In assessment of his short match, Sela said: “I think I played well in the match, I was solid. I was a break up two times and played two bad games on my serve so hopefully I can be better in the final.”

It was a right shoulder injury which forced Copil from Romania to call time on their semifinal and Sela told me that he was aware that his opponent was struggling. “I think it was in the last game of the first set and I definitely noticed it in the first game of the second”, the third seed said. “At 6-5 I had a couple of set points and I felt that he was not 100%. At the end he just told me my shoulder is really painful and I don’t want to risk it for the tournaments coming up in the next few weeks”, he added.

The 2011 champion will face fourth seed Thomas Fabbiano in Sunday’s final following the Italian’s straight sets win over Sam Groth 6-4, 6-3. Sela was pleased to not be facing another big server, but is fully aware that his opponent is dangerous after he came through a tricky three set semifinal against him in the Suzhou Challenger in 2015. The Israeli said: “He is an all-round good player and I played him in a Challenger, it was tough match. I have to mix my game up and slice, attack his second serve and come in more.”

It has been a steady season so far for Sela, after a bright start he has struggled for wins on the main ATP Tour circuit but is hoping that his run here will spark a rise in the rankings and improvement in form. “I started very well in Australia and then didn’t win so many matches in the Tour events as I had some tough draws”, he said. “I went to play a few Challengers and did ok, not great, but not bad. Hopefully from here I can play better.

I’m going to be around 90 or 85 after this week and I don’t have many points to defend until next season so my goal is to be in the top 50 at the end of the year. It’s not too bigger goal as I don’t have points to defend.”

Sela now plans to head to Eastbourne following the final here before playing at Wimbledon once again, where he has previously reached the fourth round.


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