ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINALS 2011
Sela To Face Stebe In Final
Sao Paulo, Brazil
by ATP Staff|
Israel’s Dudi Sela advanced to the final of the inaugural ATP Challenger Tour Finals on Saturday as he upset top seed and home favourite Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-4 in Sao Paulo. The former World No. 29 saved five of the six break points he faced and broke Bellucci’s serve three times for victory in one hour and 35 minutes.
"To be honest, I don't think it was a good match today," admitted Sela. "Bellucci was clearly tired because of his tough match yesterday (against Martin Klizan) and he made a lot of mistakes. When your opponent is in that situation it's necessary to be calm and get the ball in and I did that well. I'll try to play better on Sunday."
Three months ago, the pair had clashed in the first round of the US Open, with Sela recovering from a two-set deficit to win in five sets. He went on to lose to Roger Federer in the second round. The 26 year old is a winner of three ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, triumphing in the space of five weeks at Busan, Fergana and Nottingham.
"It was the same as at the US Open," assessed the No. 37-ranked Bellucci. "He likes to defend well and counter attack and he did that today. He deserved to win. The first three days where very exhausting for me and I couldn't be at my best for today. But I had good moments and now I'll relax some days and then think about 2012."
In the final Sela will face Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who won an all-German clash with Andreas Beck 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-6(4). The No. 103-ranked Stebe fired 12 aces and was able to convert three of his 16 break point chances to battle to victory in two hours and 49 minutes.
"I think we both were a little nervous at the beginning," said Stebe. "It was mentally a tough match as I had to come back a couple of times and I managed to keep my game; in the end it worked out. He's a very good player, was Top 40, knows my game well, and I hope to keep improving with good matches like this one."
The 21-year-old Stebe has been one of the breakthrough players on the ATP Challenger Tour this season. The left-hander was ranked outside the Top 400 in February, but last month cracked the Top 100 at No. 99 after winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles and reaching the final at a third event.