Tomic leads Aussie qualifying

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru

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    Bernard Tomic will lead four Australian Open hopefuls in qualifying on Sunday, looking to take the local contingent at the Melbourne Park major to over 20.

    Nine men and eight women already have their places booked at the first grand slam of the year.

    Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty lead Australian hopes of ending a 40-year wait for a home champion.

    Tomic will aim to join them against Lorenzo Sonego after coming through a tricky second-round qualifying test.

    The 25-year-old was cruising against 20-year-old American Tommy Paul on Saturday before falling in a hole and requiring a third-set tiebreak to progress.

    The Wimbledon quarter-finalist, who was shunned by Tennis Australia for a wildcard, now heads to the not-so-bright lights of court eight to take on Sonego to reach the first round proper.

    A win over the 22-year-old Italian, who has never played in a grand slam, would continue a seven-year run of consecutive major appearances for Tomic.

    John-Patrick Smith and Bradley Mousley also have shots to make the main draw.

    Mousley, best known for failing a drug test at age 18 after testing positive for ecstacy, is looking to debut at a major.

    He plays Spanish talent Jaume Munar, while Smith, who has played at four grand slam events without winning a match, faces Kevin King of the USA.

    Priscilla Hon was the only Australian woman to win a qualifying match this year, and will shoot for the main draw against American Irina Falconi.

    © AAP 2018

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