Dudi Sela, Israel’s top-ranked men’s singles tennis player, advanced to the third round of Wimbledon play with a stunning come-from-behind win against American John Isner in London on Thursday.
Standing at just six feet and seven inches, Sela, 32, is ranked 90th in the world. After Thursday’s win, Sela was among the last 32 players left in the tournament.
Sela won Thursday’s second round 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 and 6-3 — his second successive Wimbledon five-setter.
Sela pumped his fists in the air after defeating the six-foot-ten Isner, ranked 21st in the world.
Moments after coming off the court, Sela said he was “very happy” at the win.
“I think I played a solid match but was maybe lucky with some of the points. I played well on my service games but didn’t play so well on his. I stayed around [the] same level from the first point.”
He said the Israeli-like temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius (86° Fahrenheit) benefited him as his opponent tired.
“Sometimes when the sun is on your head like for him, and you hear all these ‘kadimah’s [Hebrew for onwards], he starts feeling even more tired. It helps me and [I] like it.”
Sela said the level of tennis programs in Israel was “terrible,” but that there were a couple of young players he hoped would soon join him in playing the grand slams.
No Israeli reached the third round last year.
He will next face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the world’s 11th highest ranked player.
Sela’s win came two days after he beat Marcell Grenollers in five sets to advance to the second round.
On Wednesday, Sela was dropped from doubles play along with Brazilian Andre Sa after coming up 0-2 against American Nicholas Monroe and Australian Artem Sitak.
Sela has already reached Wimbledon’s fourth round, in the 2009 tournament.