's News Thread (Challenger and ATP): Aussie pair receive Sydney wildcard [Archive] -'s News Thread (Challenger and ATP): Aussie pair receive Sydney wildcard

save ausdecline
12-13-2009, 09:20 PM
Hot field for AO Play-off

The young guns of Australian tennis are set to slug it out at Melbourne Park next week in the Australian Open Play-off.

Organisers today named the 16-player men’s and women’s field for the round robin event, with the prize for each winner a valuable wildcard into Australian Open 2010. The draw for the AO Play-off will take place at Melbourne Park tomorrow, Sunday 13 December.

The women’s field is headed by comeback queen Alicia Molik who has stormed back onto the Pro Tour following a seven-month retirement. Also on the comeback trail is Casey Dellaqua returning from injury, rising star Olivia Rogowska, Optus 18s champion and 2009 finalist Monika Wejnert and 2009 Wimbledon Juniors double champ Sally Peers.

West Australian Brydan Klein is top seed in the men’s event, which will also see Bernard Tomic back in action after winning the US Open Juniors. Matt Ebden, John Millman and James Lemke have all enjoyed success on the Pro Tour recently and will be highly competitive.

JP Smith is back in Australia after a standout season playing for his US College, Tennessee. JP recently won both singles and doubles of the ITA Men’s All-American Championships, a feat accomplished by only two others, including Harvard’s James Blake in 1998.

Queensland’s Jason Kubler, winner of today’s Optus 18s championships is also a player to watch.

Australian tennis selectors will also use AO Play-off form to help them decide wildcards for the Australian Open Series events in Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart, as well as Pro tour events. The AO Play-off is the culmination of the December Showdown, which has seen Melbourne Park host more than 2000 matches, including Optus Junior Championships in all ages from 12/u to 18/u.

“The quality of tennis really goes up a few notches for the Play-off,” Tournament Director Mark Handley said today. “This is where we get to see some of the players who could be leading Australia’s charge on the world stage in years to come.”

The women’s field is: Olivia Rogowska, Shannon Golds, Jessica Moore, Alicia Molik, Marija Mirkovic, Sally Peers, Isabella Holland, Monika Wejnert, Bojana Bobusic, Alenka Hubacek, Emelyn Starr, Daniela Scivetti, Sophie Letcher, Jade Hopper, Casey Dellacqua and Viktorija Rajicic.

The men’s field is: Brydan Klein, Nick Lindahl, Greg Jones, Bernard Tomic, John Millman, Mathew Ebden, Kaden Hensel, James Lemke, Dayne Kelly, Matt Reid, Kris Balakrishnan, Benjamin Mitchell, James Duckworth, Maverick Banes, JP Smith and Jason Kubler.

save ausdecline
12-13-2009, 09:21 PM
Klein prepares for play-off

Brydan Klein hopes a strong performance in next week’s Australian Open Play-off will set him on track towards achieving his goal of reaching the world top 100 in 2010.

The West Australian, who is the top seed in the men’s field, said he wanted to kick-off his summer campaign in style with a strong showing in the wildcard event.

“It's going to be a big summer, I'm playing well so if everything goes to plan I think my ranking can jump up there and then I can get a good start to 2010, push my ranking up close to the top 100 and just progress from there,” he told the media at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Organisers today named the 16-player men’s and women’s field for the round robin event, with the prize for each winner a valuable wildcard into Australian Open 2010.

Bernard Tomic, Matt Ebden, John Millman and James Lemke are all in the men’s field as well as Queensland teenager Jason Kubler, who won the Optus 18s Australian National Championships at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

“There's a fair few good players, a few young guys coming up,” Klein said.

“It's always tough playing the younger generation because they have no expecatations, they can just go out there and swing and that's always tough so there could be some danger matches.”

“But definitely I'm going to do my best to try and go as far as I can in this and hopefully win it because I think I'm playing well enough to do it.”

Klein started 2009 with an Australian Open first round win, defeating German Bjorn Phau in four sets and reaching a career-high ranking of 174 in June.

Soon after, he was handed a four-month suspension for racially abusing an opponent before returning to the Australian Pro Tour in November, reaching the quarterfinals in Esperance and Bendigo and the semifinals in Kalgoorlie.

“It's always tough playing a match when you haven't played in a while but every match you play I was finding my feet a bit more, playing better and progressing further in the tournament,” he said.

“I was just in Brisbane before I came here, just relaxing a bit. I've been practicing well, had some good sessions and hitting better and better coming closer to the tournament so hopefully I will be playing well when the first round comes on Monday.”

The official draw for the Australian Open Play-off will take place on Sunday 13 December 2009.

save ausdecline
12-13-2009, 09:22 PM
AO Play-off official draw

Top seeds Olivia Rogowska and Brydan Klein both face tricky opponents as they attempt to qualify for the 2010 Australian Open during this week's Play-off.

Rogowska headlines the blue group and will come up against former top-50 player Casey Dellacqua in her first round robin match on Monday.

The 18-year old said Dellacqua, who made the fourth round of Australian Open 2008, will pose a tough challenge first-up.

“There's a lot of pressure on me as top seed but there are a lot of tough competitors here and everyone is going to be a difficult opponent,” Rogowska said.

“It's a tough draw and it's going to be a tough competition.”

Dellacqua said she was happy to be on the court after sitting out most of 2009 with shoulder and foot troubles.

“I've pretty much been out for most of the year so for me it's just about getting back out there and playing some matches.

“Obviously I'm a bit undercooked in terms of time on court but the play-off is the perfect opportunity to get some match time against quality opposition.”

Former world No.8 Alicia Molik plays Victorian Jade Hopper in her first round robin match.

Meanwhile World No.200 Klein will face off against newly-crowned Optus 18s Australian Champion Jason Kubler.

“It's going to be tough having Brydan in my group because he's a great player,” Kubler said. “Hopefully I can play well and give him some trouble.”

Also in action is Bernard Tomic, who takes on US college champion J.P. Smith in his first match on Monday.

Tomic said he was looking forward to the Australian Open Play-off as he prepared for a big summer of tennis.

“I've been practicing well, so hopefully I can start off good tomorrow,” said Tomic, a two-time Junior Grand Slam winner.

“It's good match practice and I really enjoy it, so hopefully when I start I can win some matches.”

2010 Australian Open Women's Play-off:

Blue group: Olivia Rogowska, Isabella Holland, Casey Dellacqua, Ashling Sumner
Green group: Shannon Golds, Monika Wejnert, Victoria Rajicic, Sophie Lecter
Magenta Group: Jessica Moore, Marija Mirkovic, Alenka Hubacek, Daniela Scivetti
Yellow Group: Alicia Molik, Sally Peers, Jade Hopper, Bojana Bobusic

2010 Australian Open Men's Play-off:

Blue Group: Brydan Klein, Kaden Hensel, James Duckworth, Jason Kubler
Green Group: Nick Lindahl, James Lemke, Matt Reid, Ben Mitchell
Magenta Group: Greg Jones, John Millman, Dane Propoggia Dane Kelly
Yellow Group: Bernard Tomic, Matthew Ebden, JP Smith, Kris Balakrishnan

save ausdecline
12-14-2009, 05:55 AM
Tomic wins, Klein suffers upset

Australian Open hopefuls Bernard Tomic and Greg Jones have made winning starts to the Wildcard Play-off, while No.1 seed Brydan Klein suffered an upset loss to James Duckworth.

17-year old Tomic had too much class for JP Smith, who took medical time out in the second set for a troublesome left ankle.

The 6-3 6-2 score line was indicative of the contest; entertaining, but never pushing out of second gear.

Number 3 seed Jones was similarly untroubled by fellow New South Welshman Dane Propoggia, opening his play-off account with a 6-1 6-4 win.

In contrast, Klein and Duckworth produced a highly entertaining contest, trading a number of long rallies and both serving well.

After winning the first set 6-4, Klein looked set for a straightforward victory before New South Welshman Duckworth started to hit his straps, sending a number of impressive lobs and passing shots down the court.

He broke Klein for a 5-3 lead and closed out the set, sending the match into a decisive third, which he claimed in a tiebreaker after being down 4-5 against the West Australian.

Duckworth said he was ecstatic about the win, but still felt he had room for improvement.

“I'm really happy with the win – I wasn't really expecting it, so I just went out going for it.

“I feel there's quite a bit of improvement left; I'd just like to win a few matches this week!”

Men's Australian Open Play-off results:
James Duckworth (NSW) d. [1] Brydan Klein (WA) 4-6 6-3 7-6(2)

[3] Greg Jones (NSW) d. Dane Propoggia (NSW) 6-1 6-4

[4] Bernard Tomic (QLD) d. John-Patrick Smith (QLD) 6-3 6-2

[6] Matt Ebden (WA) d. Krishananth Balakrishnan (NSW) 6-4 6-4

Multiple Ernests
12-14-2009, 07:23 AM
Jones looking for a big break

One of 16 Australian men contesting this week’s wildcard Play-off, Greg Jones is on the hunt for an early birthday present. The tall right-hander turns 21-years-old on 31 January 2010 – Australian Open men’s finals day – and there’s no gift he’d rather give himself than a shot at the coveted Australian Open singles title.

“If I were to win this tournament I would live eat and breathe that first round Australian Open match the next month,” says Jones, who today defeated Dane Propoggia 6-1 6-4 in the first match of his AO Play-off round robin.

“When you get that big an opportunity you don’t know how many times it’s going to come around. Hopefully it will be for the rest of my career, but you’ve got to try and take the opportunity when you get it. “

A competitor at the last two Australian Open Play-offs, Jones is yet to win a set at the event. He lost round robin matches to Andrew Coelho, Colin Ebelthite and Joe Sirianni in 2007, and to Brendan McKenzie and Brydan Klein (withdrawing injured from his third group match against Peter Luczak) in 2009. He’s not about to let some disappointing results dampen his enthusiasm for the tournament, however.

“I’m really excited this year because it’s the first year where I feel I’ve had good preparation and I’m fit and healthy and everything’s going well leading into it,” says Jones, who had to contend with strained lower abdominals and a rolled ankle at last year’s Play-off. “I’ve actually played pretty well the last couple of weeks so I have a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to it.”

After a slow start to his season, Jones hit his straps on clay in April, reaching the finals at the Bundaberg Futures and winning Ipswich Futures a week later. “I came off four weeks training before that so I was pretty fresh and playing well, full of confidence and excited to play,” he says.

While delighted by his success on the red dirt, Jones headed to Europe determined to further refine his claycourt game. “These days you’ve got to be able to play on clay before you can get away with being a grass court specialist or a fast court specialist,” he says, explaining that while he suffered some early defeats in Italy and the Netherlands, it was time well spent.

“The idea of playing on clay quite a bit this season was to learn a few skills that I maybe haven’t picked up during my career growing up on synthetic grass and hard courts. Clay courts are different in Europe because here in Australia they are a little bit quicker because it’s more dry and at tournaments here you mostly play against Australians who typically don’t play so much on clay.

“It’s tougher in Europe with guys who have grown up on it. Once I learned those lessons I felt like I was able to transfer them onto hard court and it improved my game.”

Jones reaped the rewards of his dedication by reaching the semifinals of a grasscourt Futures event at Frinton and a hardcourt Challenger at Penza in July before rounding off the year with three Challenger quarterfinal showings in Asia and a semifinal finish at the Bendigo Futures in December.

Coming into the Play-off on the back of some of the best form of his career, he is eager to begin his quest for a wildcard into Australian Open 2010, and to get some valuable match practice before the Australian Open Series starts in January.

“It’s great to get all the Australian players together and training together in one place,” he says. “We need guys to practice with and it’s not always easy in Australia because we’re so spread out (geographically). As Australian players it’s good to have competition leading up to the summer because it’s a time when we have our biggest opportunities so we want to be playing our best tennis.

“It’s great to play in an actual tournament atmosphere - it feels just like a Grand Slam because there are so many people around and that’s what we want. It’s much better than being around here and not having anyone watching us.”

With the Optus age and team championships, an Australian Money Tournament and the Play-off all taking place during the 2009 December Showdown there is a heightened atmosphere at Melbourne Park. Jones says he is loving every minute of it, and is delighted to be able to play his part in helping to inspire the next generation of Australian tennis players.

“For the younger kids this environment is the best possible thing they could have because it’s so inspiring,” he says enthusiastically. It’s great for them having all the top Australian players here while they’re competing because they can get a taste of things.

“It’s something I feel maybe my generation when I was a bit younger missed out on because we had nationals but they were always played so remotely from the top players and the guys playing the Australian Open. The December Showdown is a great concept for Australian tennis.”

Jones says this year the Australian Open Play-off, and its wildcard prize, is the most open he’s contested. “A few of the top players aren’t playing and that creates a big opportunity,” he explains. “There are a lot of guys in contention in the draw and there aren’t as many outright favourites as there were in previous years.

“The biggest threats are guys like Brydan (Klein) who’s had some time off but who’s played three tournaments back already and is a good player and Nick Lindahl who, when he gets going, can play a really good standard of tennis. Then there are a few dark horses like Kaden Hensel who’s beaten two top 100 players.”

save ausdecline
12-14-2009, 08:19 PM
AO Wildcard Play-off Day 1 wrap

Alicia Molik and Casey Dellacqua, both on the comeback trail, tasted victory on day one of the Australian Open Play-off at Melbourne Park.

Molik (SA) enjoyed a clinical 6-1 6-2 win over Victoria’s Jade Hopper, and Casey Dellacqua (WA) upset top seed Olivia Rogowska (VIC) 7-6(10) 6-0.

Number 3 seed, Jessica Moore (WA), beat Alenka Hubacek (VIC) 6-3 5-7 6-0 and No.5 seed Marija Mirkovic (VIC) defeated Daniela Scivetti (NSW) 6-4 6-2.

Fifteen-year-old Viktorija Rajicic (VIC) caused the biggest upset of the day, holding her nerve to overcome experienced campaigner Shannon Golds (QLD) 6-3 3-6 7-6(2).

Number 8 seed and winner of last week’s Optus 18s Girls Singles Championships, Monika Wejnert, cruised past fellow Queenslander Sophie Letcher 6-2 6-1.

In other results No.6 seed Sally Peers (VIC) defeated Bojana Bobusic (WA) 6-4 7-5, and Isabella Holland (QLD) won over Ashling Sumner (QLD) 7-6(8) 6-2.

In the men’s draw, 17-year-old No.4 seed Bernard Tomic overpowered fellow Queenslander and US college champion John-Patrick (JP) Smith in straight sets 6-3 6-2.
Third seed Greg Jones (NSW) was similarly untroubled by Dane Propoggia (NSW), opening his play-off account with a 6-1 6-4 win, and No.6 seed Matthew Ebden (WA) defeated Kris Balakrishnan (NSW) 6-4 6-4.

James Duckworth from New South Wales had a stunning win over top seed Brydan Klein (WA). In an entertaining contest lasting more than two hours Duckworth held firm to take the match 4-6 6-3 7-6(2).

Jason Kubler, the 16-year-old winner of last week’s Optus 18s Australian Championships, also caused an upset, defeating fellow Queenslander and No.7 seed Kaden Hensel 6-1 2-6 6-3.

Nick Lindahl (NSW) defeated Matt Reid (NSW) 6-4 7-6(4) and John Millman (QLD) won against Dayne Kelly (VIC) 6-2 6-4.

save ausdecline
12-15-2009, 09:02 AM
Jones wins, Hensel upsets Klein

Greg Jones has recorded what he described as a “grind” of a win against Queensland's John Millman, moving through to the quarterfinals of the Wildcard Play-off 6-3 3-6 6-2.

The No.3 seed was forced all the way against Millman, the pair trading a number of entertaining rallies throughout the match.

Jones said after the match he was always expecting a competitive match.

“You always know you're going to get that with John – he tries his guts out from the start to the finish. He makes it very tough for you, so I was happy.”

After a second-set lapse, the New South Welshman picked up his game and concentration in the third, breaking twice for a 4-1 lead and never looking back

“I was a little disappointed mid-way through that second set,” Jones said. “I thought I had a few chances and didn't really capitalise on them, but played very well in the third again.”

Fifth seed Millman's progress into the quarterfinals will depend on his and other results tomorrow, his ledger sitting at 1-1.

Earlier, No.1 seed Brydan Klein suffered his second play-off loss in a row, going down to Queensland's No.7 seed Kaden Hensel 6-4 6-4.

An agitated Klein was unable to contain Hensel's powerful arsenal of shots from the back of the court. Despite working his way to a 4-2 advantage in the second set, he was unable to hold on to the break.

The West Australian will need a decisive win and some favourable results tomorrow to progress past the round-robin stage of competition.

Australian Open Play-Off – Round Robin 2
[7] Kaden Hensel (QLD) d [1] Brydan Klein (WA) 6-4 6-4
Dane Propoggia (NSW) d Dayne Kelly (VIC) 7-5 4-6 6-4
[2] Nick Lindahl (NSW) d [8] James Lemke (VIC) 5-7 6-3 1-0 ret.
[6] Matthew Ebden (WA) d [4] Bernard Tomic (QLD) 3-6 6-1 7-5
James Duckworth (NSW) d Jason Kubler (QLD) 3-6 7-5 6-0
[3] Greg Jones (NSW) d [5] John Millman (QLD) 6-3 3-6 6-2
Matt Reid (NSW) d Stephen Hoh (VIC) 6-2 6-4
John-Patrick (JP) Smith (QLD) d Kris Balakrishnan (NSW) 6-3 6-4

Australian Open Play-Off – Round Robin 2
Ashling Sumner (QLD) d [1] Olivia Rogowska (VIC) 7-6 (7) 7-5
Jade Hopper (VIC) d Bojana Bobusic (WA) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Casey Dellacqua (WA) d [7] Isabella Holland (QLD) 6-2 6-3
[4] Alicia Molik (SA) d Sally Peers (VIC) 6–4 6–7 (1) 6–4
[8] Monika Wejnert (QLD) d Viktorija Rajicic (VIC) 6-3 6-3
[5] Marija Mirkovic (VIC d [3] Jessica Moore (WA) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[2] Shannon Golds (QLD) d Sophie Letcher (QLD) 6-2 6-1
Alenka Hubacek (VIC) d Daniela Scivetti (NSW) 4–6 6–4 6-3

save ausdecline
12-15-2009, 09:10 AM
Ebden edges Tomic in a tight affair

Matt Ebden has booked a place in the quarterfinals with a 3-6 6-1 7-5 win over fourth-seeded Bernard Tomic at the Australian Open Wildcard Play-off today.

Coming into the play-off, Ebden has been the form player on the Pro Tour circuit. He was won 19 of his past 20 matches, including titles in Bendigo, Esperance and Port Pirie.

Tomic looked to be in good touch as he took the opening set 6-3, leaving Ebden wondering what had hit him.

Video: watch the latest video interviews from the December Showdown

Seventeen-year-old Tomic varied the pace of his ground strokes to catch his older opponent off guard and put him under pressure.

In the second set, however, Ebden climbed out of his hole and sent Tomic back to the drawing board as he won the set 6-1.

The third set was a battle of attrition as the sun began to have an effect on the players. Ebden, who had taken last week off to recharge ahead of the play-off, was the first player to break in the ninth game.

Not to be outdone, Tomic broke straight back to keep the crowd guessing. But at 5-5 and seemingly with the momentum, Tomic was struck down by cramps and called for the trainer.

Following the injury time-out, Ebden broke the slower-moving Tomic to take a decisive 6-5 lead. The West Australian held to take the set 7-5 and continue his sterling run of form.

Following the match Ebden said he was happy with his form coming into the play-off and was relieved that he turned the match around after losing the first set.
“I got on a roll in the second and the third was real close, 7-5, [there were] only a few points in it.”

Tomorrow Ebden will complete his round-robin matches against Queensland's John Patrick Smith who defeated Krishananth Balakrishnan 6-3 6-4 today, while Tomic will meet Balakrishnan in his final round-robin match.

Australian Open Play-Off – Round Robin 2
[7] Kaden Hensel (QLD) d [1] Brydan Klein (WA) 6-4 6-4
Dane Propoggia (NSW) d Dayne Kelly (VIC) 7-5 4-6 6-4
[2] Nick Lindahl (NSW) d [8] James Lemke (VIC) 5-7 6-3 1-0 ret.
[6] Matthew Ebden (WA) d [4] Bernard Tomic (QLD) 3-6 6-1 7-5
James Duckworth (NSW) d Jason Kubler (QLD) 3-6 7-5 6-0
[3] Greg Jones (NSW) d [5] John Millman (QLD) 6-3 3-6 6-2
Matt Reid (NSW) d Stephen Hoh (VIC) 6-2 6-4
John-Patrick (JP) Smith (QLD) d Kris Balakrishnan (NSW) 6-3 6-4

Australian Open Play-Off – Round Robin 2
Ashling Sumner (QLD) d [1] Olivia Rogowska (VIC) 7-6 (7) 7-5
Jade Hopper (VIC) d Bojana Bobusic (WA) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Casey Dellacqua (WA) d [7] Isabella Holland (QLD) 6-2 6-3
[4] Alicia Molik (SA) d Sally Peers (VIC) 6–4 6–7 (1) 6–4
[8] Monika Wejnert (QLD) d Viktorija Rajicic (VIC) 6-3 6-3
[5] Marija Mirkovic (VIC d [3] Jessica Moore (WA) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[2] Shannon Golds (QLD) d Sophie Letcher (QLD) 6-2 6-1
Alenka Hubacek (VIC) d Daniela Scivetti (NSW) 4–6 6–4 6-3

12-16-2009, 05:41 AM
You should provide the source when copy and pasting articles.

save ausdecline
12-16-2009, 09:18 AM
all from

save ausdecline
12-16-2009, 09:58 AM
Tomic through to quarters

Teenage sensation Bernard Tomic will face Greg Jones (NSW) in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open Play-off after both qualified from the round robin stage today.

Coping well with the scorching 39-degree heat at Melbourne Park, Queenslander Tomic qualified thanks to a 6-2 6-1 win over Kris Balakrishnan. Jones eased past Victorian Dayne Kelly 7-5 6-3. 17-year-old Tomic and Jones, 20, are two of Australia’s most promising young players. Tomic is the winner of two junior grand slam titles, while Jones was runner-up at two junior grand slams. Both have also made huge strides forward in the men’s game.

Thursday is a rest-day at the Australian Open Play-off. When the competition resumes on Friday, the other quarter-final action will see Kaden Hensel (Qld) take on Matt Reid of New South Wales; in-form Western Australian Matthew Ebden plays John Millman of Queensland. James Duckworth scraped into the last eight to take on fellow New South Welshman Nick Lindahl in the last eight, despite suffering a final stage round robin 6-1 6-7(8-6) 6-1 defeat to Hensel in Wednesday’s round robin matches.

Top seed in the play-off Brydan Klein missed out on a place in the last eight, despite beating highly-rated 16-year-old Jason Kubler 6-3 7-6(4) to notch up his first win of the round robin stage following defeats to Hensel and Duckworth. “I played pretty average this year in the play-off, which is due to lack of match practice … but I know I'll play better over the summer,” said Klein.

In the women’s play-off, Olivia Rogowska (Vic), Alicia Molik (SA), Casey Dellacqua (WA), Marija Mirkovic (Vic), Sally Peers (Vic), Jessica Moore (WA), Monika Wejnert(Qld) and Shannon Golds (Qld) all secured places in the quarterfinals.

The schedule for the quarterfinals on Friday will be released on Thursday afternoon.

12-16-2009, 10:53 AM
I'm new to following the Australian Open wild card play offs and have a question.

Does anyone know why Ball, Carsten (134), Guccione, Chris (136) and Matosevic, Marinko (186) didn't play in the play off (their world rankings are in brackets)? They are not ranked high enough for Australian Open direct acceptance. Has Tennis Australia already granted them wild cards?

save ausdecline
12-16-2009, 11:40 AM
Its a combination of factors,
1) older players are being overlooked in accordance with TA's youth policy (i think they have taken it too far, as the field would be relatively inexperienced)
2) many australian high ranked players are injured

save ausdecline
12-18-2009, 12:19 PM
AO Play-off semifinals beckon

The order of play for the AO play-off quarterfinals has been released with some big names set to go head to head in the race for a wildcard into Australian Open 2010.

West Australian Casey Dellacqua will continue her rehabilitation after shoulder surgery against No.2 seed Shannon Golds. Dellacqua won all three of her matches in the round-robin stage and looks to be on her way back after spending most of the year on the sidelines.

Number 4 seed Alicia Molik will meet resurgent third seed Jess Moore first up on centre court. Molik won all three of her matches in the group stage and has looked dangerous all week; while Moore will be looking for some on-court revenge after Molik defeated her in their last meeting.

Second up on centre court will be women's No.1 seed Olivia Rogowska, who qualified for the quarterfinals after a games count back, and eight-seeded Monika Wejnert. Last week Wejnert added the Optus 18s Australian Championship to her trophy cabinet and will be looking to continue her winning ways.

Men's third seed Greg Jones will also be looking to keep his winning run going when he takes on fourth-seeded Bernard Tomic in what will be one of the most anticipated quarterfinals. Jones won all three of his group matches, while Tomic won two, dropping one match to Matt Ebden.

Ebden, who has starred on the Pro Tour this season and is the sixth seed here, will take on popular Queenslander John Millman, No.5, on court 7 in what is looking likely to be a close one.

In other matches, Kaden Hensel will play Matt Reid, James Duckworth meets second-seeded Nick Lindahl, and Sally Peers will face Marija Mirkovic.

Matches begin at Melbourne Park from 10:00 am and entry is free. For those who can't watch the matches live, our live stream of centre court matches will kicks off at 9:45 am with Melbourne sports broadcasters Brett Phillips and Peter Marcato leading the commentary team.

save ausdecline
12-18-2009, 12:19 PM
Millman delivers Ebden a loss

Number 6 seed John Millman is through to the semifinals of the Australian Open Play-off, defeating Matt Ebden 7-6(4) 4-6 7-5 in one of the matches of the tournament.

The Queenslander said he was expecting a high-quality match and the ensuing contest lived up to his expectations, with both players trading a number of impressive rallies.

“I'm actually pretty elated,” Millman said.

“It was a very tough match – you'd expect that with such a competitor like Matty Ebden. I had to play some pretty good ball today ... so I'm pretty happy. Matt's being playing great tennis – he's been the in-form player of the summer tour.”

The first set was a tight affair, with few free points given on serve. Forced to a tiebreaker, Ebden closed it out 7-4.

Games remained on serve in the second set, Millman matching Ebden each time the No.6 seed tried to press home an advantage. Up 4-3 on serve, he broke and closed out the set with ease.

Things were again tight in the third, with few free points given from both sides.

Ebden had chances serving first, but it was Millman who took his chances to break for 6-5, serving out the match with an ace on the line.

The 20 year old was happy with his form and looking forward to the challenge of a semifinal against No.2 seed Nick Lindahl.

“I think I've had a really good year, especially in the Pro Circuit tour. I thought that I'm playing some really good tennis, and you've just got to take it one match at a time.

“I'll just go out now and have a good recovery – you can wake up pretty sore after some big matches like this, so I'll just have a good recovery, eat well tonight.”

Despite his encouraging form throughout the play-off, Millman was reticent to speculate beyond tomorrow's match.

“I don't like looking too far ahead, but it would be a dream come true. I've always watched the guys on television playing the Australian Open. The atmosphere playing in the quallies here last year was unbelievable. Hopefully I can just take it one match at a time.”

Meanwhile Lindahl was a 6-0 2-0 winner against James Duckworth, with the New South Welshman forced to retire after struggling with shoulder troubles.

Unseeded Duckworth had been the tournament's surprise packet, beating No.1 seed Brydan Klein in his first round-robin match, but was unable to compete at his best against Lindahl.

Lindahl is riding on a four-match winning streak, having been undefeated in the group stage of the Australian Open Play-off.

save ausdecline
12-18-2009, 12:20 PM
Tomic ready for the semis

Bernard Tomic is through to the last four of the Australian Open Play-off after defeating Greg Jones in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.

Number 4 seed Tomic was tested but rarely troubled by Jones, who came into the match having a perfect record so far in the tournament.

Despite serving well, No.3 seed Jones lacked the firepower to overcome his taller opponent, seeing a number of impressive winners sail past.

Tomic paid tribute to his opponent after the match, saying his confidence was building each time he walked onto the court.

Watch matches on demand from Days 1, 2 and 3 and the quarterfinals

“Greg serves really well and I knew I had to return well,” he said. “The more I spend time on these courts, the better I play. I was having a bit of an off-season after the US [Open], and now I'm starting to play good.

The 17 year old has a new fitness coach, Yutaka Nakamura, who is working with the reigning junior US Open Champion to improve his endurance and strength on the court.

“We've been together the last week, so we need a little bit more time, and hopefully when we get that I'll play even better. I was a bit tired after that match with Matthew [Ebden] the other day, and it was good to have a day off yesterday so it really paid off today.”

Asked about the opportunity to snare a wildcard into Australian Open 2010, Tomic said his chances were as good as anyone else.

“Well I've got a one out of four chance, so I don't know!”

The No.4 seed will play against Kaden Hensel after he defeated New South Wales' Matt Reid 6-4 7-6(4).

Hensel was on song early before being pushed into the second set tiebreaker. The No.7 seed has had a strong week, defeating Brydan Klein and James Duckworth during the round robin before following up against Reid.

save ausdecline
12-19-2009, 06:33 AM
Lindahl edges out Millman in a thriller

Second seed Nick Lindahl will have the chance to snare an Australian Open 2010 wildcard after winning his semifinal against plucky Queenslander John Millman, 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(3).

A former junior Australian Open runner-up, Lindahl continued his impressive form this week, having won all three of his round-robin matches before disposing of James Duckworth in the quarterfinal stage.

The match attracted a sizeable crowd on the AO Play-off’s feature court, with healthy numbers cheering both Lindahl and No.5 seed Millman during an entertaining contest.

The players traded a number of long rallies, winners being sent to all corners of the court with impressive ease.

After sharing early breaks, games were locked on serve until a first-set tiebreaker, which Millman closed out 7-2 after being gifted a few loose points.

Lindahl fought back in the second, however; keeping his intensity high and moving his opponent around the court. He needed only one break of serve, closing the set out 6-3 and evening the contest.

Again games remained on serve in the deciding set, although Millman – serving first – came within two points of victory when up 5-4.

But the No.2 seed proved too strong in the tiebreaker, taking it out 7-3 and securing a place in tomorrow’s final where he’ll face the winner of Bernard Tomic and Kaden Hensel.

Speaking after the match, Lindahl said he was happy with the way he played against Millman.

“I’m feeling a bit tired now, but [I’m] pretty happy; it was a good match today. Fitness-wise I’m feeling really well, but I still feel I can improve a bit – hopefully tomorrow.

“I think [Millman] started to get a bit tired – he had a tough match yesterday. I had a pretty easy match ... I just kept moving him side to side and attacked well.”

The No.2 seed said he was on target with his goal coming into the play-off.

“Of course I came here to win it, and I’ve been training pretty hard the last month – especially on fitness, I’m feeling fit.

“I feel confident... I just want to play my best tennis and see how I go. I’ve been defending really well and today I attacked pretty good, so hopefully I can put both of those together tomorrow.”

save ausdecline
12-19-2009, 06:34 AM
Tomic sets up showdown with Lindahl

Crowd fancy Bernard Tomic will take on No.2 seed Nick Lindahl for a place in Australian Open 2010 after disposing of Kaden Hensel in straight sets, 7-6(4) 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Tomic displayed patches of his best tennis during the match, although swirly conditions on the Australian Open Play-off’s centre court played havoc with both players’ serves.

“Today I played really well,” Tomic said after the match. “Kaden is a great player, and I knew I had to play good and return well.

“It was tough conditions; we both lost a lot of service games, and I was lucky to hold when I needed it. So hopefully tomorrow it isn’t like this.”

The 17-year-old reigning junior US Open champion was on song early in the match, breaking for a 4-3 lead and stroking a number of winners down the court.

Serving for the set at 5-4, however; Tomic was broken back and eventually forced into a tiebreaker.

Hensel pressed during the first set decider, displaying some of the power tennis that has propelled him to the semifinals of the Wildcard Play-off. The No.7 seed ultimately came up short, surrendering 7-4.

Again Tomic found himself under the pump in the second, going down an early break and forced to pull some impressive shots from the baseline.

He took the initiative from there on in, breaking Hensel twice to close out the match 6-4 and prepare for a contest against No.2 seed Lindahl.

“I’ve had a lot of preparation,” Tomic said, “off court I was [on the] Gold Coast training, but I lacked match practice a bit. Now I’m starting to pick it up and I’ve proved to myself that I’m capable of winning matches.

“It would be great to have that wildcard, and I’m going to fight for every ball tomorrow. If I lose I lose; if I win I win.”

12-19-2009, 07:39 AM
I'm new to following the Australian Open wild card play offs and have a question.

Does anyone know why Ball, Carsten (134), Guccione, Chris (136) and Matosevic, Marinko (186) didn't play in the play off (their world rankings are in brackets)? They are not ranked high enough for Australian Open direct acceptance. Has Tennis Australia already granted them wild cards?

I think Guccione and Matosevic are nursing injuries. Guccione has been out for some months now and hopes to be back early next month. Matosevic has a back injury, I think. I did read somewhere a while ago that TA has a problem with Marinko, I can't remember the exact reason, though. As for Ball, I would think he has secured a wildcard, he did make an ATP final, and reached the second round at the US Open through a wildcard. However, his form towards the back end of the season was horror on the challenger circuit. Must have lost about 6 or 7 first round matches in a row. Maybe he was injured too?

save ausdecline
12-19-2009, 09:02 AM
yes thats right

12-19-2009, 02:56 PM
Yeah Ball has been struggling with an injury and Groth isn't playing due to injuries either.

save ausdecline
12-20-2009, 05:55 AM
Lindahl outlasts Tomic in an epic final

Nick Lindahl has defeated Bernard Tomic in a five-set thriller at Melbourne Park to win the AO Play-off and a wildcard into Australian Open 2010.

Lindahl saved five match points in the fourth set to overcome a determined Tomic in front of a large crowd.

After the match a relieved and elated Lindahl told the media that he would prepare differently for his second tilt at the Australian Open.

“[I’m] really happy but I’m really tired and really sore everywhere but I’m really happy and excited.

“Yesterday [against John Millman] I was two points away from defeat, today I was one point from defeat, so I’m really proud of myself to hang in there.”

The first set was a struggle as both players felt each other out, probing for weaknesses in each other’s game. Tomic used his backhand down the line to great effect as he burnt Lindahl a few times, with the set ending in a tiebreaker, which Tomic won 7-6(6).

The wheels fell off for Tomic in the second set as Lindahl took control and the set 6-1. Tomic even tried advancing to the net late in the set but was sent back to the baseline by a sublime Lindahl backhand passing shot.

Set point was a similar story as Lindahl finished the set off with a flourish coming in the form of a high-reaching crosscourt backhand volley that left Tomic stranded in no man’s land.

The third set mirrored the first as games went with serve until the tenth game when Tomic broke the status quo and snatched Lindahl’s serve and the set 6-4.

The irrepressible seventeen year old played one for the highlight reels on set point when he retrieved a Lindahl smash and elegantly popped the ball back over Lindahl’s head and into the corner for a winner.

But it was the fourth set that had the assembled crowd on the edge of their seats. Tomic jumped out of the blocks like a headstrong horse on Cup day to take a 3-0 lead before Lindahl had even saddled up. At 5-2 Tomic was looking like an almost certain starter at the Australian Open, but Lindahl wasn’t finished yet.

The 21 year old kept his head and saved five match points before taking the set himself in an epic tiebreaker 7-6(8).

In the final set Lindahl got the decisive break in the sixth game as he took a 4-2 lead. Both players held serve for the duration of the set, which Lindahl took 6-3.

It was a disappointing end for Tomic who got himself into a winning position and, just like Olivia Rogowska in the women’s final earlier in the day, he just wasn’t able to finish it off.

Following the match Tomic was asked if he’d be thinking about those missed match points tonight: “I had a few match points, but I’m gonna get over it tonight, so hopefully I can get it out of my mind by tomorrow,” he said.

“I should’ve changed something up but, then again, tennis is tennis – you make a few mistakes like that and it can cost you and it did today. But Nick played good tennis and there was no excuses, he just played the good shots at the right time.”

Lindahl will now focus on his training ahead of Australian Open 2010, which starts January 18.

For Tomic, the nervous wait begins to see whether or not he will be granted one of the few remaining discretional wildcards into the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

save ausdecline
12-30-2009, 12:48 PM
Millman handed Brisbane wildcard

Talented Queenslander John Millman's excellent form this summer has earned him a wildcard into next month's Brisbane International tennis tournament.

Tennis Australia's national selectors granted Millman and Davis Cup regular Carsten Ball wildcards into the men's field leaving just one wildcard remaining, which is expected to be announced this week.

Bernard Tomic, who has already been granted a wildcard into the Australian Open, is likely to be among the contenders for the remaining spot.

"John's efforts on the Pro Tour and his performances in the Wildcard Play-off at Melbourne Park earlier this month got him over the line," said Davis Cup coach and national selector Todd Woodbridge.

"He has lifted his ranking more than 250 places (from 564 to 307) in the last 12 months and deserves this opportunity."

Millman and Ball will join world No.6 Andy Roddick, reigning champion Radek Stepanek, fellow Czech Tomas Berdych, Frenchmen Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, and crowd favourites James Blake and Marcos Baghdatis in the draw.

save ausdecline
12-30-2009, 12:50 PM
Tomic lands Brisbane wildcard

Bernard Tomic has been given the last wildcard into the Brisbane International, which starts Sunday.

The Gold Coast 17-year-old joins fellow wildcard recipients John Millman, 20, of Brisbane and Australian Davis Cup player Carsten Ball in the men’s main draw of the first ATP World Tour event of the 2010 season.

National selector and Davis Cup coach Todd Woodbridge said Tomic’s form in the Australian Open Wildcard Play-off at Melbourne Park earlier this month warranted the wildcard.

“Bernard made the final after some tough matches during the week<" Woodbridge said. "He continues to grow and is working on his movement and other aspects of his game. I think he will make the most of this opportunity in what is effectively his home tournament.”

Brisbane International Tournament Director Steve Ayles believes Tomic’s inclusion will add to the pulling power of the event.

“I think a lot of Queensland tennis fans will be keen to see how Bernard has developed in the last year. Many have been following his progress throughout his junior career and will be interested in his performances at the Queensland Tennis Centre against some of the best tennis players in the world.”

Tomic made his ATP World Tour debut at the inaugural Brisbane International in January showing maturity beyond his years in a 6-4 6-2 loss to world No.15 and eventual Australian Open semifinalist Fernando Verdasco from Spain.

He then went on to win his opening round match at the Australian Open in four sets against Italian world No.73 Potito Starace before losing a four-set match against the big serving Gilles Muller from Luxemburg.

In February he won a Challenger event in Melbourne and has lifted his ranking from 764 at the start of the year to a career high of 284 in November. He is currently ranked 286.

His credits during the year included a second Grand Slam boys' title, the US Open (he won the Australian Open boys crown in 2008).

Ayles said this last wildcard completed a world-class field.

“I think local tennis fans will be impressed. Tickets are selling even more quickly than last year and with the big players arriving, the anticipation is building already. The practice courts are filling up and there is already a truly international flavour at the Queensland Tennis Centre."

Women’s qualifying starts Friday and men’s qualifying starts Saturday.

The men’s wildcards will join world No.6 Andy Roddick , reigning champion Radek Stepanek, fellow Czech Tomas Berdych, Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, and crowd favourites James Blake and Marcos Baghdatis in the men’s draw.

Brisbane International 2010 series packages and single sessions are on sale now. Ground passes remain $9.90 with the qualifying event on Friday 1–2 January 2010 remaining free.

save ausdecline
12-30-2009, 12:51 PM
Hewitt primed for 2010 and beyond

Retirement is a dirty word for Lleyton Hewitt as the rejuvenated former world No.1 enters the new year once again with grand slam intentions.

Hewitt can't wait to launch his summer campaign on Saturday at the Hopman Cup in Perth after reviving his career in 2009 under former junior doubles partner Nathan Healey.

After parting ways with champion coach Tony Roche, Hewitt slashed his ranking from 109th in February to a year-ending No.22 with Healey fulltime in his courtside box.

The pair have lofty ambitions for Hewitt's 13th full season on the ATP Tour.

"I'd love to get back into the top five as soon as possible," Hewitt told fans on his personal website.

"Obviously the four majors for us is the priority.

"The Australian Open and Wimbledon are probably not only mine but also Nathan's favourite two tournaments, so it'd be great to do well at those two tournaments and have a shot at those.

"The Australian summer is obviously the main priority, trying to get ready for the Hopman Cup and then obviously the Medibank International Sydney leading into the Australian Open in Melbourne.

"That's where we want to get the damage done."

Now based in the Bahamas, Hewitt has spent the past five weeks in Sydney training hard with Healey and conditioner Nathan Martin and says he's enjoying the new coaching arrangement after two years with Roche.

"Nathan and I spent a lot of time together growing up and we know each other's games extremely well and he obviously knows the way I play as well as anyone around the world," the former US Open and Wimbledon champion said.

"Nathan has a young family, wife Marnie and a young daughter Anna, who gets on extremely well with my two kids Mia and Cruz, so we've got a lot of things in common and we really like to spend a lot of quality time together on and off the tennis court."

Like fellow 28-year-old Roger Federer, Hewitt is a young veteran these days but has no plans of retiring any time soon after making an impressive comeback this year from career-saving hip surgery in August 2008.

"He's got another two or three years on tour and I would like to think that by the middle of the year he'd be knocking on the door of the top 10," Hewitt's manager David Drysdale said.

"He's got renewed enthusiasm, which is fantastic. He's really fit and his body's feeling good and that will probably dictate how long he keeps playing for.

"But he's most definitely not thinking of retirement."

The highlights of Hewitt's 2009 season were runs to the Wimbledon quarterfinals - after ousting soon-to-be US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in the opening round - and to a drought-breaking claycourt title in Houston in April.

All up, he reached seven quarterfinals, two semis and a final and conquered French Open runner-up Robin Soderling in Cincinnati before rounding out his encouraging US hardcourt campaign with a four-set loss to Federer at Flushing Meadows to signal he was close to back to his best.

"You wouldn't swap his experience or passion and you know the top players still respect and fear him," Drysdale said.

"And when that comes into play, anything can happen."

Hewitt will team with women's world No.13 Samantha Stosur at the Hopman Cup, where the top-seeded Australians take on Romanians Victor Hanescu and Sorana Cirstea first up on day one of the mixed teams' event.

01-01-2010, 05:11 AM
ohhh yeahhhh hewitt gunna win AO lol

01-04-2010, 09:01 AM
At least he is positive. :)

save ausdecline
01-04-2010, 09:28 AM
Aussie pair receive Sydney wildcards

Australian Davis Cup player Peter Luczak and Australian Open wildcard play-off winner Nick Lindahl have both been awarded wildcards to the Medibank International Sydney, set to get underway on Sunday 10 January at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.

Tennis Australia national selectors granted Luczak, currently Australia's No. 2 player at world No. 77, and New South Welshman Lindahl wildcards into the men's field leaving just one wildcard remaining.

"It's great to see Peter getting back into top 100 and coming back after his hip injury," Davis Cup coach and national selector Todd Woodbridge said.

"He is a real work horse for Australian tennis and shows so many of the younger players what is achievable with hard work and dedication. He thoroughly deserves this opportunity at the Medibank International Sydney."

Victorian Luczak reached a career-high ATP World Tour ranking of No. 64 in October this year after winning three ATP Challenger titles in Furth, Poznan and Cordenons.

30-year-old Luczak said he was thankful to receive the opportunity to match it with the world's best at the Medibank International Sydney.

"I'm really grateful to Tennis Australia for awarding me with a wildcard for Sydney," Luczak said.

"I've worked hard all year and got to my highest ranking. I am looking forward to some tough matches in Sydney and hope it will provide a good preparation for the season ahead."

Woodbridge said that Lindahl's performance in the Australian Open wildcard play-off showed selectors that he was deserving of the opportunity to play in Sydney.

"By winning the wildcard play-off, we've seen Nick show a new maturity in his game and a real turn around in attitude," Woodbridge explained.

21-year-old Lindahl, who hails from Eleebana in NSW, said he was relishing the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd.

"I feel like I have definitely earned my spot in the draw after the Australian Open wildcard play-off," Lindahl said.

"It means the world to me that the selectors believe in me and have given me this opportunity. I will certainly be making the most of it."

Tournament Director Craig Watson welcomed the two Australian additions to the main draw.

"It's fantastic to have both Peter and Nick in the men's draw, along with our Australian No. 1 Lleyton," Watson said.

"The Medibank International Sydney crowds are always very patriotic and I have no doubt they will get right behind them.

"Peter has played at the Medibank International Sydney for a number of years and came very close to qualifying last year so it is great to have him back in the main draw.

"It's also a great opportunity for a local player like Nick to be able to face the world's best players and do it at a world-class venue in his home state."

Luczak and Lindahl join Hewitt, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych and Marcos Baghdatis in the men's field for the 2010 event, whilst the star-studded women's line-up features nine of the world's top ten women led by Serena Williams as well former world No. 1 Justine Henin and Aussie pair Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua.

save ausdecline
01-04-2010, 09:31 AM
Lindahl reaches Brisbane main draw

Australian Open wildcard playoff winner Nick Lindahl has continued his fine summer to reach the main draw at the Brisbane International.

Lindahl saved six second-set break points before upstaging Belgium's former Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse 6-1 7-6(2) in the final round of qualifying on Monday.

The 21-year-old New South Welshman will face either Jurgen Melzer, Thomas Berdych, Serra Florent or countryman Bernard Tomic in the opening round.

Lindahl defeated Tomic in a five-set thriller at Melbourne Park last month in the final of the Australian Open wildcard playoff.

The former Australian Open junior runner-up was rewarded for his strong summer form on Monday with a wildcard entry to next week's Medibank International Sydney.

Davis Cup coach and national selector Todd Woodbridge said Lindahl may have turned a corner in his young career.

"By winning the wildcard playoff, we've seen Nick show a new maturity in his game and a real turn around in attitude," said Woodbridge.

Lindahl is relishing the opportunity to play in his home grand slam later this month.

"I feel like I have definitely earned my spot in the draw after the Australian Open wildcard playoff," Lindahl said.

"It means the world to me that the selectors believe in me and have given me this opportunity. I will certainly be making the most of it."

save ausdecline
01-05-2010, 11:40 AM
Ebden, Ball reach second round

Carsten Ball and Matt Ebden have both advanced to the second round of the Brisbane International while Australian Open wildcard play-off finalists Bernard Tomic and Nick Lindahl both bowed out today.

Ball set-up a second round meeting with No.1 seed Andy Roddick after downing Mischa Zverev 7-5 6-1 in his first round match.

Qualifier Matthew Ebden, 22, maintained the Aussie charge when he upset sixth-seeded Austrian and world No.28 Jurgen Melzer.

Ebden defeated Melzer 7-5 6-1 in just over an hour. Not a bad effort for the world No.285 player.

Ebden and Ball are now the only remaining Australian players in the Brisbane International.

The West Australian Ebden meets Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the second round.

Bernard Tomic, who received a wildcard into the event, lost in straight sets, 6-4 6-4, to Ukraine qualifier Oleksandr Dolgolov JR.

Australian Open finalist, Marcos Baghdatis progressed to the second round defeating America's Mardy Fish on Pat Rafter Arena.

Winning in straight sets 7-5 7-5, the smiling Cypriot said "it wasn't my best match but I am happy."

"In the off season I worked hard on my fitness. I am quicker, fitter and I am enjoying it.

"I am happy I won and with my attitude on court."

Baghdatis will now meet the fourth seed Thomas Berdych who defeated Australia's Nick Lindahl, 6-2 6-4.

save ausdecline
01-05-2010, 11:42 AM
Returning Roddick downs Luczak

Andy Roddick's troublesome knee was given a stern test but the big-serving American came through with flying colours in his return to the ATP tour on Monday night.

Australian Davis Cup regular Peter Luczak gave Roddick a worrying first-set scare before the top seed prevailed 7-6(5) 6-1 in his opening match at the Brisbane International.

Luczak, who has worked his way to No.77 in the rankings after an injury-hit 2009, was up 5-3 in the tense tiebreak but failed to close out the set by dropping clutch points on serve.

Roddick swiftly grabbed the opportunity given by two unforced Luczak errors and then quickly ran through the second set with his signature booming serve firing on all cylinders.

The world No.7 iced the first set with an ace, one of an amazing 15 for the match, with his weapon hitting speeds beyond 220km/h.

Roddick finished 2009 early to rest his knee but after three months rest he moved as well as ever during his one hour and 23 minutes on Pat Rafter Arena.

Luczak was impressive from the baseline and more than held his own for the first 12 games but slipped after creating a gilt-edged chance in the tiebreak by drawing Roddick in with a deft drop shot and then finishing off with a volley at the net.

But the 29-year-old was guilty of overdoing the drop shot in the second set as Roddick pounced to break in successive Luczak service games.

Roddick could meet another Australian in the second round with wildcard Carsten Ball standing in his way if he beats Germany's Mischa Zverev on Tuesday.

Roddick admitted Luczak took him out of his "comfort zone" by playing far more aggressively than he expected and taking the rallies up to the 2009 Wimbledon finalist.

The Texan was grateful his prime weapon - his serve - was on song to allow him to stay in the opening set.

"I served great tonight, that's what got me through the first set," he said.

"It was like an insurance policy for me ... it buys me time sometimes and allows me to work my way into a match."

Roddick, who has given himself a heavy training workload in the past month, was pleased his knee gave him no problems and felt he finished the match in far better nick than he started.

"You don't climb a mountain and then play your best tennis after a four-months layoff," he said.

"I feel good and I feel excited and there's definitely room for improvement."