Australian Open - Kokkinakis, Evans, Molleker and Harris reach main draw


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Australian Open - Kokkinakis, Evans, Molleker and Harris reach main draw

The qualifying round of the first Grand Slam of the season at Melbourne Park is behind us, with 16 lower-ranked players earning the place in the main draw and fight for big points and prize money. Only one match went down to the wire to include the match tie break to 10 at 6-6 in the third set and it was the 30-year-old Japanese Tatsuma Ito who won it, beating the top seed Lorenzo Sonego 7-6, 0-6 7-6 (10-3 in the super tie break).

Thus, Ito secured the place at his first Major since the Australian Open three years ago, winning three main draw matches in 11 appearances so far. He needed two and a half hours to dismiss the Italian, saving three set points in the opening set and bouncing back from 4-2 down in the deciding set (Sonego won 10 of the last 12 games at that point) before he leveled the score with a break in game eight and produced three match points on the return at 6-5.

Lorenzo fends them off but he had to strength for a complete comeback, dropping the match tie break 10-3 to send Ito into the main draw where he will face another qualifier Daniel Evans. The Briton will compete at his 10th Major and the first since Roland Garros 2017 following a 6-3, 6-3 win over the 4th seed Paolo Lorenzi in an hour and 27 minutes.

Evans lost just 11 points on serve, allowing Lorenzi to break him once and erasing that deficit with four breaks from nine opportunities he grabbed, controlling the scoreboard from start to finish to bring the match home and secure the place in the main draw.

The 22-year-old American Christopher Eubanks is through to his second Grand Slam main draw event following a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Spaniard Pedro Martinez in just over an hour. Eubanks fired 12 aces and lost only nine points on serve to stay away from break points, stealing the rival's serve on three occasions to march towards the main draw where he will face the 19th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The 29-year-old Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran took down Yosuke Watanuki 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes to deserve the place in his first Grand Slam main draw where he will face the young American Frances Tiafoe.

An 18-year-old Rudolf Molleker is one of the best players in the world born in 2000 alongside Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nicola Kuhn and he will be another Grand Slam debutant after a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over another German Oscar Otte in an hour and 40 minutes.

Oscar was the better player for a set and a half, leading 6-4, 4-2 before Rudolf started to fight back, saving a crucial break point in game seven and breaking Otte twice in a row to steal the second set and gain the momentum.

Oscar was 5-3 up in the decider, he even had two match points at 5-4 before the youngster made one last push, erasing them to score back-to-back breaks and carve his way towards the main draw where he will play against the 18th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The home star Thanasi Kokkinakis couldn't get the main draw wild card but he will compete at Melbourne Park next week anyway, toppling the Canadian Peter Polansky 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and a half after an excellent performance.

Thanasi blasted 18 aces and he never faced a break point, keeping the pressure on Peter and stealing his serve once in each set to march on and get a chance to play versus Taro Daniel in the opening round. The 21-year-old Lloyd Harris has qualified for his second consecutive Grand Slam, ousting Dustin Brown 6-1, 7-6 in just 74 minutes to set the interesting clash against the 15th seed Daniil Medvedev in the opening round.

Another youngster will have a chance to experience the most significant tennis stage action, with the 19-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic securing the place in the very first Grand Slam main draw following a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win over Thiago Monteiro in 61 minutes.

Miomir never faced a break point and he won seven straight games from the middle of the opening set to eases past his rival and set Fernando Verdasco clash in the first round. Final qualifying round results:

Tatsuma Ito (JPN) vs [1]Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 7-6(6) 0-6 7-6(3)
Christopher Eubanks (USA) vs Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-3 6-3
[24]Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) vs Ze Zhang (CHN) 6-7(4) 7-6(1) 6-1
Daniel Evans (GBR) vs [4]Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-3 6-3
Henri Laaksonen (SUI) vs Joao Domingues (POR) 7-6(4) 6-2
[6]Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) vs Yosuke Watanuki (JPN) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4
Gleb Sakharov (FRA) vs Tim Smyczek (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-4
[27]Stefano Travaglia (ITA) vs Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4 6-2
Rudolf Molleker (GER) vs Oscar Otte (GER) 4-6 6-4 7-5
[32]Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) vs [10]Peter Polansky (CAN) 6-4 6-4
[11]Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs Dustin Brown (GER) 6-1 7-6(10) 
Luca Vanni (ITA) vs Hiroki Moriya (JPN) 6-2 6-2
Mitchell Krueger (USA) vs [13]Marco Trungelliti (ARG) 6-3 5-7 6-4
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Darian King (BAR) 6-2 3-6 6-3
Kamil Majchrzak (POL) vs Mats Moraing (GER) 6-3 6-2
[16]Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) vs [17]Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-2 6-1