Photo: Paul ZimmerRod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park
The 2013 Australian Open is now underway and the action in Wednesday’s singles qualifying event saw our leading male singles title winners of 2012 take to the courts to do battle for a place in round two.
With seven singles titles to his name on the ITF Pro Circuit over the course of 2012, Aldin Setkic led the way. The 25-year old Bosnian, making his Grand Slam debut, was drawn to face America’s Donald Young in a tricky first round tie but succumbed in straight sets to lose a close match 63 64.
German 29-year old Bastian Knittel ended 2012 with six ITF Pro Circuit singles titles to his name but could only claim three games in a 63 60 loss to Tsung-Hua Yang from Chinese Taipei. Yang will now face our leading title winner from 2011 and current record holder of consecutive singles match wins on the ITF Pro Circuit with 44, Arnau Brugues-Davi from Spain.
Brugues-Davi won through to round two with a convincing 63 62 defeat of the number 32 seed from China Ze Zhang and is looking good to claim a spot in the main draw.
The two youngest of the leading title winners of 2012, each with six titles, were Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Radu Albot aged 20 and 23 respectively and both faced tough first round opponents.
Argentine Schwartzman took on his fellow countryman and fifth seed Martin Alund, a player currently ranked just outside the ATP Top 100. Schwartzman was, like Setkic, making his debut appearance in a Grand Slam match and looked to be on his way to making a hasty exit losing the opening six games of the match but he then recovered in spectacular fashion to win 12 of the following 14 games to secure a 06 60 62 victory!
Albot from Moldova also fell behind in his first round match against Rik De Voest, a player with some years’ experience of Grand Slam main draw play. The South African took the opening set 64 before a 7-4 tiebreak win brought Albot level. From here, Albot pushed on to claim a second round spot with a 46 76(4) 63 win.
Both Schwartzman and Albot are scheduled to play their second round matches on Thursday 10 January as the sixth match on courts 13 and 6 respectively. Should both players come through on Thursday, they will meet for a place in the main draw!
You can follow the progress of these and other players in the Australian Open by visiting the tournament's home page.