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The feel good story we all needed as Aussie wildcard Vukic causes massive upset at the Australian Open

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17th January, 2022
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Wildcard Aleksandar Vukic has become the first local winner on day one of the Australian Open with a four-set upset triumph over No.30 seed Lloyd Harris.

Vukic held his nerve in a tight encounter on Court 3, winning 4-6 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-3) against South African Harris in two hours and 53 minutes.

It continued a good recent run of form from Sydneysider Vukic, who reached his first ATP Tour quarter-final last week in Adelaide before bowing out to eventual champion and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The 25-year-old received a standing ovation from the delighted home crowd as Vukic shook his head, seemingly in disbelief after posting his breakthrough first main-draw win at a grand slam.

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Vukic’s reward is a second-round clash against Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot, with the winner of that match likely to next face No.3 seed Alexander Zverev.

Harris became the first seed to exit the tournament on day one at Melbourne Park.

There are six locals in action on Monday including women’s world No.1 Ash Barty, Ajla Tomljanovic, John Millman, James Duckworth and Kokkinakis.

It comes as all the players had to put the dramas of the past week to one side and focus on their tennis with non-stop headlines about the decision to deport Novak Djokovic.

The upset by Vukic is just what Tennis Australia needs with a feel-good story and another Aussie doing well at their home grand slam.

Meanwhile, Defending champion Naomi Osaka has eased into the second round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over spirited Colombian Camila Osorio.
The Japanese superstar delivered a mixed bag en route to a 6-3 6-3 win over the world No.50.

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With her ranking slipping to No.14 after a tumultuous 2021, Osaka showed no signs of the abdominal injury that saw her withdraw from the semi-finals of a lead-up tournament 10 days ago.

“I thought I played really well given the circumstances,” Osaka said in an on court interview.

“I didn’t really have that much information on my opponent and I thought she played amazing.

“She was fighting for every point and I think that’s a really good quality so I’m sure we’ll see her on this court pretty frequently.”

The four-time grand slam champion looked like she would make short work of Osorio, racing to a 5-0 lead in the opening set on Rod Laver Arena. But Osorio, who hadn’t played since October, skipping the warm-up tournaments in Australia, started to find her rhythm.

The 20-year-old clawed her way back to 3-5 and then had two break points to get the match back on serve.

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But Osaka steadied before sending down a big serve to wrap up the first set.

The former world No.1 then took advantage of a poor service game by Osorio to break for a 3-1 lead.

While the youngster, who is a former US Open junior champion, tried to stay in touch she was unable to peg back her rival.

Osaka herself has only played three matches since her third-round exit at the US Open, opting to take a mental break from tennis.

© AAP

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