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Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic have continued their brilliant qualifying campaigns, becoming the first pair of Aussie men to qualify for the Australian Open since Alex Bolt and Blake Mott in 2017.

Max Purcell (AUS) def [22] Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) 6-4, 6-3

Max Purcell was the first Australian to qualify for the 2023 main draw after he downed 22nd seed Matteo Arnaldi in the first match on Court 7 at Melbourne Park.

It marks the second time that the 24-year-old has progressed all the way through Australian Open qualifying, after initially doing so in 2020. Purcell becomes just the second Australian man in history to qualify for the Australian Open main draw twice, the other being Broderick Dyke in 1992 & 1993.

Purcell was dominant on serve, as has been the case all week, firing eleven aces and winning 77% of points behind his first serve en route to victory.

After a brilliant 2022 season on the doubles court – including a Wimbledon triumph alongside Matt Ebden – Purcell made his intentions clear that singles will be the priority in 2023.

I’m trying to take a step away from doubles this year and trying to focus on my singles, Purcell said.

“I’ll see where the next three or four years can take me with that.”

Purcell admitted that playing a schedule with both tennis formats creates an impossible challenge and has prevented him from reaching his full potential in the ATP singles rankings.

Doubles has screwed me. The scheduling is impossible when you have a different schedule for singles and doubles. I only got about seventeen tournaments in singles last year,” Purcell said.

The 24-year-old has set a clear goal for the upcoming season, looking to be competing in the main draw of majors from an individual standpoint.

That’s my goal this year; to try and get inside the top 100 at some point and start getting into the main draw of slams without having to qualify,” Purcell said.

The Aussie has now given himself the perfect opportunity to begin his serge, as he looks ahead to his second career Australian Open main draw match next week.

[21] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) def [9] Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-4, 7-5

Aleks Vukic has reached his third consecutive Australian Open main draw – this time doing it the hard way after he came through the final round of qualifying against American Michael Mmoh.

The 26-year-old Aussie was pushed by the ninth seed and passed the test in brilliant fashion, taking a greater percentage of his break point opportunities to secure a third consecutive straight sets win.

After being unfortunate to miss out on a main draw wildcard, Vukic put his head down all week and powered on to earn his place in next week’s action.

I’m very happy. It was three tough matches, and my level was pretty consistent throughout,” Vukic said.

To qualify at any Grand Slam but especially in Australia, it means a lot, both to me and my family.

Vukic, who reached the cusp of the ATP top 100 after winning his first Challenger title last February, encountered an elbow injury that kept him off the court temporarily in 2023.

I was lucky that I had a lot of positive people around me [last year], believing in me, and I’m happy that I can keep it going this year,” Vukic said.

After receiving a main draw wildcard last summer and capitalising with a first-round win, the Aussie will enter the 2023 Australian Open with even more confidence after a strong qualifying campaign.

You get so familiar with the courts. You probably even favour qualifiers or lucky losers sometimes over other players that aren’t in form, so it’s definitely better in terms of that”, Vukic said.

The Aussie will now wait to find out his opening round matchup as he bids to match his effort from 2022, which saw him take down seed Lloyd Harris in four sets.

Schoolkate downed at last hurdle:

After his best effort to date at a Grand Slam, reaching the final round of qualifying, 21-year-old Tristan Schoolkate was overcome by experienced German Jan-Lennard Struff.

Schoolkate went down 6-1, 6-4 to Struff in one-hour-and-eight minutes on Court 8.


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