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Posted By Alex Johnstone  
09:00 AM

After a difficult start to 2021, Aussie favourite Marc Polmans has secured his first win of the season as a host of other Australian’s enjoyed a good day on the tour.

Adorning his customary legionnaire hat, Polmans breezed past his Slovenian opponent Blaz Kavcic with a strong return game, winning 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round of the Challenger event in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Remember the image of Kavcic at the 2013 Australian Open after his 5 set epic win over James Duckworth in 40+ degree heat, who was left to celebrate victory flat on his back in the locker room with an IV drip pumping muscle relaxant into his spent body.

Sticking with the green and gold, Thanasi Kokkinakis continued his solid form in 2021 by advancing to the second round of the Roma Garden Open Challenger 2, putting on a solid serving display with 9 aces and 80% of 1st serve points won to dispatch his opponent Yannick Maden of Germany 6-3, 6-2.

The news wasn’t as good for compatriote Aleks Vukic, who fell in the opening round of the same tournament 4-6, 1-6 to Italian Roberto Marcora.

Over in Spain, Ajla Tomljanovic put in a solid performance to advance to the final round of qualifying for the Mutua Madrid Open with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over former Hobart International champion Mona Barthel. She will now face China’s Xiyu Wang for a spot in the main draw of the WTA 1000 event.

There were no Aussies in singles action overnight on the ATP Tour, however, John Peers and Luke Saville opened their BMW Open campaign in Munich with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over their Finnish opponents Heliovaara/Ruusuvuori. The duo were solid when it counted, saving 3/4 break points whilst converting three of their own. Next up, they will face German pair Dustin Brown and Peter Gojowczyk in the quarter finals.

In the singles, Pablo Cuevas advanced after a seesawing encounter with American livewire Tennys Sandgren, winning 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-1 to set up a clash with fellow clay court specialist and second seed Casper Ruud in what is sure to be a cracking match.

Rising American star Sebastian Korda, exited to Qualifer Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, falling in the opening round for the second tournament in a row after his Miami quarter final run. For Galan the world number 115, its his second good scalp this year after he defeated Alex De Minaur in the Round of 64 in Miami.

The major news coming out of the ATP event in Estoril, Portugal overnight is that Kei Nishikori will be withdrawing from the tournament and his second round clash with Kevin Anderson after suffering an abductor injury during practice.

“I am very disappointed to withdraw from Estoril. I came here early, took some days off and then had two very good days of practice,” Nishikori said in a statement.  “Yesterday, unfortunately, I stepped wrong and hurt my right abductor. We are doing checks and do not think it is serious, but unfortunately will not be ready to play a match in the next 48 hours.”

Here’s hoping that the injury is not too serious and Nishikori will be fully fit for what is a big few months of tennis as we head deeper into the European summer. On the court, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who defeated Nishikori in that final got through a tight 3 settle battle 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 with 17 year old Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz who continues to impress 

Finally, over on the ITF World Tour, Australian Olivia Gadecki is continuing to string together some good tennis, successfully qualifying for the ITF W15 tournament in Antalya with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

In the USA, Arina Rodionova was on her way to a huge upset victory over American Madison Brengle 7-5, 4-6, 6-5 before the number one seed retired at the W60 event in Charlottesville.

The news wasn’t as good for Tina Nadine Smith in Cairo, with her doubles campaign coming to a close overnight in a 7-6, 3-6, 5-10 loss.  

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