Photo: Fiona HamiltonAdam Kellerman (AUS)
Adam Kellerman booked a place in his second successive Australian Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships men’s main draw on Monday when he defeated his compatriot Ben Weekes 26 64 62 in the wildcard play-off at Melbourne Park.
After beating Weekes 64 62 in the 2013 play-off to earn his Grand Slam main draw debut, 23-year-old Kellerman made a slower start this year, but saved three successive break points against him in the fourth game of the match to keep the contest on serve. However, Weekes went on to win the last four games of the opening set to bolster his hopes of returning to the main draw at the first Grand Slam of the year for the first time since 2012.
Kellerman made the crucial breakthrough as he secured the first service break of the second set to lead 3-2 and after holding his own serve he maintained the cushion for the remainderof the set to force a decider.
It was Kellerman’s first hold of the final set that put distance between himself and Weekes and after taking a 3-1 lead Kellerman broke for 5-2 before serving out the match.
“First set I wasn’t returning very well at all, so in the second I really focussed on getting those returns back and getting into the point,” world No. 17 Kellerman, who succeeded Weekes as Australian No. 1 for the first time in October 2013, told the Australian Open website.
“I had quite a long off-season, the longest I’ve had. I had training from September up till December when the Brisbane International started. I feel a lot stronger and fitter on the court, and all my shots have improved so I'm feeling really good,” added Kellerman, who won the Queensland Wheelchair Tennis Open in Brisbane, the first ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour event of 2014, in the first week of January.
“It’s an amazing feeling, the Australian Open and all the other grand slams, that’s why any tennis player plays in the first place.”