Photograph: Paul Crock - Getty Images
James Duckworth is out of the Australian Open after losing to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in five sets on Court 7.
It’s a disappointing result for the world No. 49 who looked in complete control before fading to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 1-6 defeat in three hours and eight minutes. The Aussie did look to be hampered by a hip injury he sustained before the ATP Cup as the match wore on in trying conditions at Melbourne Park.
After a slow start, Duckworth found his feet in the second set with the support of a parochial Australian crowd who were hanging off every point. The support did wonders for Duckworth who fed off the crowd’s energy to dominate the second and third sets.
It seemed as though the Aussie would canter to the finish line but the momentum of the match flipped after Mannarino broke Duckworth early in the fourth. From there on, the Aussie went on to win just two more games for the match as he started to struggle on serve.
"Yeah, pretty disappointed," Duckworth said post-match.
"It was a match I felt like I could have won. Didn't serve well enough probably throughout the match really and that probably cost me."
As the tide started to turn, Duckworth became his own worst enemy, hitting 30 unforced errors in the final two sets compared to just six from Mannarino. The Frenchman sensed an opportunity, tightened up his game and forced the struggling Duckworth to play as many balls as possible.
It’s the fifth time in nine Australian Open main draw appearances that Duckworth has fallen in the opening round.