I'm glad you joined me in following Rafael Nadal's first-round win here at Wimbledon. This is Jakub Bobro saying see you later!
"Always great to play here at Wimbledon, especially on Centre Court. First match-- I have positive feelings, but still room to improve. I went to the net a couple of times, when I had time on the forehand, it was very good. First round is never easy," said Nadal.
A comfortable win for Nadal to start his tournament. Sela produced some nice points, but couldn't really trouble Nadal. This might be the last Wimbledon for Dudi Sela at 33 years of age and No. 127 in the rankings. Sela has a young family, and the wrist troubles might mean this is the last time the crowd in London see him.
6-3 6-3 6-2: A long beautiful is stopped by Nadal to challenge, and he was correct. Sela jokingly put his hands in the air after Nadal stopped this fun rally. Nadal got a forehand winner for 0-30, but a return error and an ace took Sela to 30-30. The game went to deuce, but Sela got an advantage with an ace, but Nadal took him right back. The second seed finds a beautiful forehand down the line for a match point, but he missed the forehand return. Sela gave him another opportunity with a missed volley, but worked hard to win the rally, taking the game to the fifth deuce. Nadal took his third match point and wins the match.
5-2: Nadal kept being absolutely dominant, getting to 40-0 after two unforced errors from Sela's forehand, and held to love with an unreturned serve. Sela will serve to stay in the match.
4-2: Sela still found some nice tennis, even if his match is essentially over. A beautiful rally came up, but Sela put a half-volley into the net, making it 30-30. Nadal finds a beautiful passing shot from a drop shot, getting the break point at 30-40. The Spaniard missed his next two returns, giving Sela the advantage, and after a slightly wide forehand from Nadal, Sela holds for the first time in this set.
4-1: Sela is seeming a bit desperate to end the points quickly, instead of constructing the rallies like in the first set. I'm pretty sure it was the wrist that kept him out of the grass lead up tournaments, which have been his bread and butter. He finds a wonderful touch with the backhand, great hands getting him two break points. Sela tried to end the point with a backhand down the line, caught him out of position and only hit the net. Nadal comes forward and gets the advantage. Sela gets up there with a volley and takes it back to deuce, still in it. Nadal misses a backhand volley after coming in for a drop shot, granting Sela his third break point. Nadal denies it, gets an advantage of his own but Sela finds a return winner from a 126 mph serve. Nadal finishes the game with a backhand volley, consolidating the break.
3-1: Sela starts his game with an ace and was constructing the point well in the second point, but Nadal just flips the script with his speed and forehand in rallies. He gets two breakpoints at 15-40, converts the second one and gets his break. Sela is shaking his wrist, probably not fully fit.
2-1: Nadal got back to his dominant mindset, the serve and forehand just on point. Sela didn't get into any points, Nadal holds to love.
1-1: Nadal was looking to get the break back right again, and after a long backhand at 30-40, Sela's advantage disappeared before his eyes.
0-1: Nadal is kicking off the third set on the serve, but starting the game with two unforced errors on the forehand, giving Sela a look. He takes it back to 30-30 with very good serves, but misses a lob, giving Sela what I believe is the first break point. A double fault comes from Nadal, giving Sela a lifeline.
Meanwhile, Aliaksandra Sasnovich is serving for the first set over the odds-on favorite Petra Kvitova.
Third set! Can Sela come back and take it past three?
6-3 6-3: It's really quite impressive that Sela has been able to keep up, Nadal is playing at a very high level. Sela serve-and-volleyed at 30-30 and missed the volley wide, giving Nadal a set point. Nadal took it with a backhand down-the-line return winner. Up two-sets-to-love after just an hour and five minutes.
5-3: Sela is really going for it now, hitting a beautiful backhand winner down-the-line, but Nadal's serve has been impeccable in this set. He turns around the 0-15 to 40-15, and the game ends with another point off the serve. Sela will serve to stay in the set,
4-3: Sela gets some variety on his serve, going 30-15, but Nadal plays an absolutely outrageous shot after a lob. An overhead that was already behind him, hits it literally over his head. Nadal missed a drop shot, and Sela ended the game with a regular overhead of his own.
4-2: Nadal came up with some great play at the net to go 15-15, Sela is getting a little frustrated with the match. From then, Nadal helped himself out with his serve, winning the next three points.
3-2: Sela double-faulted to make it 15-15 and got involved in a discussion with the umpire about a line call. He offered Nadal two break points at 15-40, saved them and then had to save another off the deuce. Once he got his own advantage, Sela did not hesitate.
3-1: Nadal starts the game very aggressively, staying inside the court after serving, earning him a 30-0 lead. The No. 2 seed dictates play with the forehand, ending the clean game with a reverse forehand winner.
2-1: Sela gets some wonderful points on his serve, playing at his absolute peak to try and keep up. He finishes his clean game with an ace, and the 33-year-old is still in it.
2-0: Nadal's point streak ends at sixteen with a double fault, but he gets right back on the case, getting to 30-15. Sela shows some classy tennis, again the wide inside-out forehand and then the net approach to make it 30-30. Sela gets overexcited with the forehand, giving Nadal a 40-30 lead, but Sela finds a beautiful passing backhand in his arsenal. Nadal wins the next two points and consolidates the break.
1-0: Nadal makes it sixteen points in a row! Another clean game for Rafa and this match has quickly slipped out of Sela's hands, as the first six games were likely a feeling-out process for Nadal. He has just switched into another gear, leaving Sela behind.
6-3: Nadal is looking dominant at this point. His serve is working well against Sela. Sela ends the set with a wide backhand return, Nadal has won 12 straight points at 3-3 to win the first set. How much longer can this streak go?
5-3: I think this is the first time Nadal came to the net on the return, looking for some different alternatives on Sela's serve. With a beautiful cross-court passing shot, Nadal was 0-40 up on Sela's serve with the new balls. Sela got a little tight, double faulted, and Nadal strikes at the lethal moment to get the break.
4-3: Nadal also getting involved at the net, coming in to finish the point once he has stretched Sela wide, and an ace out wide gave him a clean game of his own.
3-3: Dudi Sela's willingness to come forward is too rare in today's game, and it was working as he went up 30-0. A one-two punch gave him a 40-0 lead, and Nadal's backhand return into the net gave Sela the second clean game in this match already.
3-2: The first points were very efficient from Nadal, earning a 30-0 lead off the serve, but Sela took him wide with a forehand came to the net and Nadal's lob sailed long. The Spaniard responded with the first ace of the match, but was unable to finish the game with a reverse forehand that went wide. Nadal came to the net and ended the game with a backhand volley.
2-2: Sela goes long with his forehand to start the game, but Nadal responds with a shanked forehand off the frame. Sela is all about getting to the net as soon as possible, once working and once not, putting the game at 30-30. Nadal hit the backhand return into the net. He challenged the serve but the call stood, Sela ending the game with the next serve.
2-1: A beautiful long rally in the second point is ended by a missed drop shot from Sela, and with Sela's craftiness, this might be a very fun match. Nadal gets his second double fault already, again at 30-0. An error from the reverse forehand puts it at 30-30 again. Sela tries to take advantage, but his big forehand hit only the net. Another unforced error from Sela and Nadal keeps ahead.
1-1: Sela finds a beautiful forehand down-the-line winner in the first point on his serve. After a return error and another forehand winner, Sela was 40-0 up. Nadal missed a return and it was an easy hold for Sela. The Israeli has exposed the space when Nadal goes for inside-out forehands, and already struck there twice.
1-0: Nadal begins the match strong out of the gate, winning the first two rallies with consistency and pressure into Sela's backhand, but a double fault and Sela's inside-out forehand return winner make it 30-30. Sela came forward with the backhand return, but Nadal pulls out a beautiful backhand down-the-line passing shot in the key point, followed by a "Vamos!". Sela makes an unforced error and Nadal holds.
Nadal to serve.
Boris Becker and Andrew Castle are the commentators for ESPN, possibly the world feed. Becker has been in the news recently, since becoming a diplomat to the Central African Republic, seemingly a stunt so he can't be persecuted over his debts due to diplomatic immunity. There was some more confusion as the Central African Republic's government wouldn't confirm this fact, but he's still in London to commentate despite all that.
Sela won the toss, chose a side, Nadal decided to serve first.
Rafael Nadal and Dudi Sela have walked out onto the court!
Garbine Muguruza advances, we shall see Rafael Nadal against Dudi Sela any minute now!
The winner will face Vasek Pospisil or Mikhail Kukushkin.
Dudi Sela is ranked No. 127 coming into Wimbledon. Despite his smaller stature, Sela is a very capable player on grass and will have to defend a third round from last year, when he defeated John Isner. At 33, this is likely to be Sela's last shot at playing on Centre Court. Coming into Wimbledon, the Israeli has a string of three losses and hasn't played any lead-up tournaments. The probability of Sela pulling off an upset is very low, especially as he hasn't won a set in any of their previous meetings.
This Wimbledon marks the 10th anniversary of the incredible final between Nadal and Federer, which was reminded to us by the documentary film Strokes of Genius. Ten years on, the two are still atop the ATP rankings, though it is unlikely we will see Nadal in the final this year. The World No. 1 decided to withdraw from Queen's Club after winning French Open and hasn't reached a quarterfinal since 2011.
This match is second on Centre Court, following the match between defending champion Garbine Muguruza and Briton Naomi Broady.
Welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 Wimbledon first round! My name is Jakub Bobro and I am happy to be bringing you game-by-game coverage of this first-round encounter at Wimbledon between 2nd seed Rafael Nadal and Dudi Sela here on VAVEL. From now on until the match begins approximately at 9:30 am ET, news and notes will be above to get you up to speed. Be sure to return once the match begins for game-by-game updates!