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Ymer, Alcaraz seal Australian Open 2021 main-draw spots

Ymer, Alcaraz seal Australian Open 2021 main-draw spots

Agencies
Doha
Young guns Elias Ymer and Carlos Alcaraz sealed their spots in the main draw of Australian Open 2021 after the final round of qualifying was completed at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex courts on Wednesday.
Alcaraz, a 17-year-old Spaniard and one of the sport’s hottest prospects, charged into the main draw of a Slam for the first time following a 6-2 6-3 win over No.2 seed Hugo Dellien.
That result came after Ymer was similarly dominant in a 6-1, 6-2 dismissal of fifth seed Taro Daniel, a win moving the Swede into the main draw of a major tournament for the first time since 2018.
Also qualifying for the year’s first Grand Slam event were No.3 seed Aslan Karatsev – who has now won 32 of his past 38 matches after trouncing Alexandre Muller – and former world No.12 Viktor Troicki, a straight-sets winner over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
Another former top-20 player, Bernard Tomic, survived a thrilling fight with fellow Aussie John-Patrick Smith, sealing a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(10-7) victory under lights.
Yet former world No.23 Damir Dzumhur was unable to join them on the flight to Melbourne, losing 6-2, 6-0 to Kimmer Coppejans.
Top seed Gregoire Barrere was also beaten, going down 6-3, 6-4 to Portugal’s Frederico Ferreira Silva.
Ymer ensured a heartwarming milestone when he sealed an exciting match point against Daniel, scrambling about the court to stay alive in a rally before ending it with a searing forehand passing shot up the line.
It means he will join younger brother Mikael – the world No.94 and two years younger than Elias – in the main draw at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
“Family is so important to me and, like, where we come from, for two brothers to make the same main draw, it’s like unbelievable, I have to say. It’s crazy,” he said.
“When I saw him play all these matches and playing so good, when I was doing my rehab for my elbow, I was like, man, if my brother can do this, come on Elias. I felt like kind of the energy of it.
Ten of the day’s 16 final-round matches were decided in straight sets. But there were some thrillers to conclude the qualifying event.
No.15 seed Henri Laaksonen was broken in the ninth game of the third set by Borna Gojo, who moved ahead 5-4 and 30-0 when serving for the match. Yet the Swiss recovered to win 10-7 in a match tie-break.
Roman Safiullin, an Australian Open boys’ singles champion in 2015, rebounded to beat Constant Lestienne of France 6-7(2) 6-3, 6-4, thus qualifying for a Slam main draw for the first time.
Mario Vilella Martinez also came back from the loss of the first set to pip Tung-Lin Wu 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Others on the list are the 174-ranked Michael Mmoh of the USA, Czech Republic’s Tomas Machac, and world No.12 Viktor Troicki of Serbia.
USA’s Maxime Cressy, Aslan Karatsev of Russia, Botic Van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands, France’s Quentin Halys, Portuguese Frederico Ferreira Silva and Bernard Tomic of Australia are also going to be making an appearance in Australia.
Tennis Australia CEO
applauds QTF
Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director, said, “There’s no question the Qatar Tennis Federation are world champions on how they’ve managed this event for us. Very quickly we had to turn around and put an event on with more than 120 players plus their entourage, that’s a massive draw size, and there hasn’t been a draw size that big in Doha before, so that’s significant they were able to do it so well at short notice.”
He added, “We are very fortunate Qatar are handing the pandemic so well, and the testing is vigilant and ongoing to ensure everyone is kept safe. The Qatar Tennis Federation has been magnificent in partnering with us, our own Andre Sa; a former top player has done a magnificent job being a tournament director for the first time, alongside Karim and his team on delivering a safe and successful event.”
Tiley noted that when the organisers were looking for cities around the world for the Australian Open qualifiers, right away Doha was on top of that list. “So we made the phone call, and the arrangement was made straight away,” he said.
Speaking about hosting future events in Doha, Tiley said, “I must admit I felt incredibly proud when the first bit of vision I saw out of Doha was seeing those backboards with the Australian and Qatar on it, with the AO, and the blue courts, and it looked magnificent, and we hope one day we can do something special for Doha and Qatar because of the way they’ve treated us.”
Karim Alami, Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) Board Member, said, “We are greatly delighted with the success of this tournament. It was a great privilege for us to host the first-ever Australian Open qualifiers to be held outside Australia in the tournament over a century history. We thank the Australian Open organisers and the ATP for the confidence they had in us in offering us this opportunity. I believe all the participants have had a great time in Qatar and we doubtlessly look forward to welcoming them back in the nearest future.”

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