January 21, 2016 / 8:18 AM / 2 years ago

Nadal's conqueror Verdasco falls to Israel's Sela

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Israel’s world number 87 Dudi Sela succeeded where Rafa Nadal failed when he subdued Spain’s Fernando Verdasco to reach the Australian Open third round on Thursday.

Israel's Dudi Sela celebrates after winning his second round match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/John French

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.

Reporting by Martyn Herman in London. Editing by Patrick Johnston

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