He won in four sets but it was anything but smooth for Daniil Medvedev. The Russian star wanted a time violation called on his American opponent’s serve and also wanted to change his clothes without sacrificing a toilet break – both were denied.
For most spectators and elite tennis players, the Australian Open starts next week when 128 men and 128 women will take part in the opening round of the main event.
This week, 128 men and 128 women will be battling it out to try and secure one of the qualifying places available for those players who can win four rounds of singles tennis this week.
Amongst the hopefuls are many Australians with different levels of ability who are at different stages of their careers.
Some will be hoping to make a good impression and gain valuable experience.
While the prize money for being a first round loser in the qualifying tournament ($24,000) will be the biggest pay day for many of the younger brigade, the experience and the opportunity to pit themselves against some of the players just outside the Top 100 players in the world is much more important for the future.
Australia, as the host nation, has the opportunity to issue wild cards for both the main draw and the qualifying tournament.
The healthy state of tennis in Australia (albeit with only one superstar – Ash Barty) means that at least six Australian men gained direct entry into the main draw and therefore, following the traditional disbursement of wildcards (four to the host nation, one to each of the three other slams and one to an Asia Pacific prospect) another four are added to the mix giving us at least ten Aussies to cheer on.
Against this background, we have a number of other Aussies to cheer on this week, and I believe Tennis Australia would be happy with most of the results achieved today:
Jason Kubler lost the first set of his encounter with Lorenzo Giustino but fought back to win in three sets and make it trough to Round 2 on Wednesday.
Rinky Hijikata sowed good form in accounting for France’s Mathias Bourgue in straight sets (6-3,6-4)
Dane Sweeny also accounted for another Frenchman ((Gregoire Barrere) in straight sets (7-5,6-3)
and Max Purcell had an impressive win (6-4,6-2) against Evgeny Donskoy.
Philip Sekulic (currently ranked 990 in the world) had a great win over Mathias Bachinger, also in straight sets.
Amongst the male losers on the day, James McCabe (ranked 1208) put up a great fight against Alejandro Tabilo, (the 16th seed) losing the first set in a tiebreaker and forcing the match into three sets.
Li Tu (#522) was outclassed by Damir Dzumhur but played a much improved second set winning three games.
For the women, Alexandra Bozovic was only on service game each set off the pace. Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz fought hard against her experience opponent Kateryna Bondarenko who has made the third round of the Australian, French and Wimbledon tournaments and the quarter-finals of the US Open in prevous years. To win the first set against her was a mighty effort and holds great hope for the future.
However the highlight of Day 1 for me was Kimberly Birrell’s demolition of Marina Melnikova in three sets.
I look forward with great excitement and expectation to see Akira Santillan and Tristan Schoolkate battle out Round 1 of the men’s qualifying and our women who include two players who have yet to gain WTA rankings and hope that a number of these players can join our winners as we move deeper into the qualifiers and closer to the main draw.
Come On Aussie, Come On.