World No. 476 Luke Saville has labeled himself as the underdog in the Australian Open 2019 Wildcard Play-off final despite showing some good form this week. Saville, a former world No. 152, is due to meet 244th-ranked James Duckworth in the final which will determine one Australian Open wildcard winner.
Saville put up a stunning display on Friday as he handed a straight-set defeat to No. 1 seed Alex Bolt 6-2 6-4 6-1. Meanwhile, former world No. 82 Duckworth came from a set down to beat Maverick Banes 6-7 (4) 7-5 6-1 6-3. Saville also beat Bradley Mousley in straight sets in his opener and Dayne Kelly in four sets on his way to reaching the final.
"We all know each others' games inside out really. Ducks is a quality player – he's been top 100. A few injuries have put him back outside. He’s obviously a very good player," Saville told Tennis Australia.
"I'll go in as the underdog but I don't mind that tag – I just wanna go out there and dig in, play another good match, serve well and I think I'll give myself the best chance if I do that." Duckworth, the Australian Open 2016 Wildcard Play-off winner, underlined that it's "gonna be tough" as Saville is playing "some really great tennis" at the moment.
Duckworth, who underwent five surgeries between January 2017 and January 2018, is eager to experience Australian Open main draw action once again. The 26-year-old made six consecutive Australian Open main draw appearances from 2012 to 2017.
"I'm really excited to have an opportunity to play for that main draw spot. The Australian Open is my favorite tournament; the support you get as an Australian playing in the main draw here is incredible and it's something I'd really love to experience again," Duckworth said.