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Photograph: Porto Open.

Christopher O’Connell’s decision to skip Wimbledon and instead chase ranking points has paid off, with the Australian finally cracking the top 100 in the live ATP Rankings on his way to reaching an ATP Challenger final.

However, O’Connell’s top 100 berth was soured when he was forced to retire with a recurring hip flexor strain in the final of the Challenger tournament in Porto overnight, against Altug Celibilek of Turkey.

The Australian has been battling a recurring hip flexor strain for the last fortnight, and it saw him withdraw from the Malaga Challenger in the second round last week.

Before retiring in this weeks final, O’Connell was struggling on return of serve, with Celibilek winning 83% of points on his first serve.

As a result of not winning the final with the injury, O’Connell in the weekly released ATP Rankings that have come out today sits at 101 in the world, a career high. These are the rankings that are updated after the completion of each weeks tournaments on a Sunday Night and released every Monday, Australian time.

The ATP Website has also added in new live rankings to follow in real time, around how every match impacts the rankings and that has Chris sitting at 97 in the world, heading into this week, where he will be inactive as mentioned. For those that follow the live rankings, which we do closely at The First Serve will notice they go up and down each day depending on the activity of all players and what points they are defending on a weekly basis.

With no ranking points on offer at Wimbledon, the Australian decided to skip the most prestigious tournament in tennis to chase more ranking points in the hope of doing exactly what he has done - crack the top 100 and he did fleetingly after winning his semi final.

The Aussie’s story is one of determination and perseverance. O’Connell could have given tennis away after going through years of injuries and repeated surgeries.

The Sydneysider is aiming to return to the court at the Atlanta Open in two weeks, where he reached his maiden ATP quarterfinal last year.

O’Connell will look to consolidate his ranking and incrementally keep building it in the next six weeks in the hope of gaining automatic entry into the US Open and future grand slams.


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