Dudi Sela has taken full advantage of his solid play all week at the BB&T Atlanta Open to advance to his first ATP final in six years. In the semifinal at Atlantic Station on Saturday night he dispatched Benjamin Becker 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to set up a match for the title against one seed John Isner who beat Jack Sock earlier in the day.
Sela, the 94th ranked player in the world, last appeared in an ATP final in 2008 where he lost to Andy Roddick but, make no mistake, he deserves to be in the final in Atlanta based upon his shot-making, energy and hustle that has outclassed the opponents he has had to face. On his way to the final he has beaten ninth-seeded American Sam Querrey and fourth-seeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil.
On Saturday night Sela’s match against Benjamin Becker swung back and forth in huge momentum swings and incredible pressure. When it counted in the third set Sela’s nerve held as he managed to save five of six break points he faced. Additionally he took advantage of two of three offered by Becker to take the third set and the match.
The final on Sunday provides several contrasts between the two players besides the obvious differences in their physical stature (Isner is more than a foot taller than Sela); this is Sela’s first Atlanta final while Isner has appeared in four of the last five years. Overall John Isner is playing in his ninth ATP final having won eight while Sela has appeared in only one previous final. Isner is currently ranked twelfth in the world and has been as high as ninth, the highest ranking Sela has ever attained is 29th.
The match will also provide several significant playing differences. Isner’s strength is his first serve and is more than 20 mph faster than Sela’s. Regardless of the challenge that Isner presents, Sela is looking forward to it “I feel great. The atmosphere is great here in Atlanta," said Sela after his match. "The crowd support was incredible."
The BB&T Atlanta Open is playing at Atlantic Station for the third consecutive year. The location is popular with patrons as there is a full set of retail services surrounding the tournament which is played on the site of a former parking lot.