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THREE AUSSIES STILL ALIVE IN AO QUALIFYING

Posted By Jedd Zetzer  
13/01/2021
17:00 PM

Three Australians have advanced to the final round of Australian Open qualifying, whilst seven were eliminated on day three of qualifying action.

Andrew Harris, Max Purcell, Tristan Schoolkate, Jason Kubler, Rinky Hijikata, Ellen Perez and Olivia Gadecki were all defeated in the second round of qualifying for their home slam. 

In Doha, Rinky Hijikata was the first Aussie to fall on day three, going down to 11th seed Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 4-6, 2-6.

Andrew Harris, who played in the main draw in 2020 was outclassed by second seed Hugo Dellien, going down to the Bolivian 4-6, 6-7(6) in a tight contest which ended after two hours and three minutes.

Max Purcell, who qualified for the main draw last year was unable to replicate his 2020 qualifying run, defeated convincingly by third seed Aslan Karatsev 1-6, 2-6 in just 63 minutes. 

Jason Kubler was also defeated in straight sets. The former top 100 ranked Aussie was unable to take advantage of a 5-1 lead in the first set, struggling with windy conditions and eventually falling 6-7(4), 4-6 to Sergiy Stakhovsky. 

Over in Dubai, Ellen Perez and Olivia Gadecki were also ousted. Perez looked good for the better part of her match against Varvara Lepchenko and won just three less points than her opponent, but was ultimately defeated 4-6, 6-2, 3-6.

18 year old Gadecki was no match for her fellow 18 year year old opponent Whitney Osuigwe, going down to the American 2-6, 4-6.

However, the results were sweeter for Australians John-Patrick Smith, Bernard Tomic and teenager Dane Sweeny who will all be in action in the final round of Australian Open qualifying today. 

19 year old Dane Sweeny will take on Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first match of the day on Court 1 in Doha. Sweeny enjoyed his maiden slam-level win in the first round of qualifying, before his second round opponent Denis Kudla tested positive to COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw, handing the Aussie a walkover into the final round.

John-Patrick Smith and Bernard Tomic will face each other in an all-Aussie affair in the final round of qualifying after both men came from behind to win on day three in Doha. 

31 year old Smith came from a set behind to claim an impressive 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over world no.155 Tallon Griekspoor in the second round, setting up what will be his second meeting with fellow countryman Tomic.

Tomic also came from behind to advance, saving a match point en route to defeating fellow Aussie Tristan Schoolkate 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(3) in a tight encounter overnight. 

The pair will face off today, fighting for a spot in their home grand slam as well as a handy $100,000 cheque. They have met once before, in 2015, where Smith defeated Tomic in straight sets in the opening round of the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport.