Aussie men’s tennis was on a high Monday at the Brisbane International, with two wildcards toppling two seeded players to move into the second round.
Aussie wildcard James Duckworth rushed and crushed the net to easily handle No. 6 seed Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes.
“I had a really good pre-season,” said the No. 125-ranked Duckworth. “Trained really hard up here. I was used to the conditions…It was just a matter of transitioning into a match, and I was able to do that today. My goal is obviously to get inside that Top 100.”
He was followed by 18-year-old Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis who had nine aces in a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 8 seed Julien Benneteau.
“I thought a good result like this was just around the corner,” Kokkinakis said. “Had a few tight ones last year where I was up a set on really good players, but wasn’t able to finish it. So I was happy to keep my composure in the second set.”
Unseeded frequently-unhinged Aussie player Bernard Tomic was also a winner Monday, edging American Sam Querrey 7-5, 7-6(5).
Americans Denis Kudla and Rhyne Williams came through the qualifying into the main draw Monday, joined by Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Romanian Marius Copil.
In women’s play, former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka squandered two match points in a loss to Czech Karolina Pliskova, and American Madison Keys upset No. 4 seed Dominika Cibulkova. Other Americans did not fare so well as Christina McHale, Alison Riske and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were all opening-round losers.
Highlighting Tuesday play at the co-ed Brisbane event will be Lleyton Hewitt, Angie Kerber, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis/Sabine Lisicki in doubles, and an all-American battle in Sam Stosur-conqueror Varvara Lepchenko vs. Madison Keys.
ASB CLASSIC UPDATE
In Monday results at the WTA ASB Classic in Auckland, Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova upset No. 2 seed Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2, and Croat Ana Konjuh also came in with an upset, defeating No. 8 Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-1.
American former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend made good on her wild card opportunity, in the first round outlasting former world No. 12 Yanina Wickmayer 6-0 in the third set.
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