Tennis: Nadal's conqueror Verdasco falls to Israel's Sela

Fernando Verdasco in action against Dudi Sela during their second round match at the Australian Open Grand Slam.
Fernando Verdasco in action against Dudi Sela during their second round match at the Australian Open Grand Slam.PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Israel's world No. 87 Dudi Sela succeeded where Rafa Nadal failed, when he subdued Spain's Fernando Verdasco to reach the Australian Open third round on Thursday.

Verdasco, who stunned the 14-time Grand Slam tennis 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 (7-4).

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 tie-break, handing 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.