Crowd helps Sela triumph in Canberra
Israeli Dudi Sela has won the Canberra ATP Challenger title with a three-set win over top-seeded German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Dudi Sela has earned himself a 21st ATP Challenger title after defeating top seed Jan-Lennard Struff to take the East Hotel Canberra Challenger 2017 on Saturday.
“I was a bit lucky today but I’m happy that I won,” Sela said. “The experience of this stage that I have been on so many times before helped me a lot.”
With great support from the Israeli community in Canberra, the 31-year-old capped off a stellar week with a stirring come-from-behind 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory.
“It’s nice to see the flag of your country all the way here in Australia,” Sela said of the partisan crowd. “If they were not here today I’m not sure if I could have had the motivation to come back like that.
“I didn’t want to let them down.”
With his last meeting against Struff – a first round encounter at the 2015 Australian Open – requiring five sets to separate them, the Canberra final always looked likely to go the distance, but in the end Sela was able to repeat the result he achieved in Melbourne two years ago.
He looked on track early to cause an upset breaking the German’s serve before the world No.64 rattled of six of the next seven games to take the opening set in 29 minutes.
In an even second set, Sela was able to secure a late service break which was enough for him to level the match at one set apiece. He quickly broke again in the decider to take an early advantage and – despite some tense play as he neared the finishing line – secured the victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
“He is a very good player,” Sela said of his opponent. “I expected a very tough match and it was that.”
Sela now heads to Melbourne to begin his Australian Open campaign full of self-belief. “It’s always nice to win a tournament and then go into the next match with a lot of confidence,” he said.
The title win will see Sela move to around world No.67, but his aim is higher. “I want to be back in the top 50 again, so hopefully this year I can keep playing well.”