At the recent tournaments held in Canberra that have included Marc Polmans, we have seen the Victorian reach the final at the 2016 Apis Canberra International, he also won two ITF Futures clay court events back-to-back in March 2017 and then reached the semifinals of the 2017 Apis Canberra International last November.
At the 2016 Apis Canberra International, it was James Duckworth that defeated Polmans in the final. At the 2018 tournament, the two were drawn in the opening round.
Duckworth had reached the top-100 back in 2017 only to see his year wiped out through injury. He made his comeback in 2018 using a protected ranking. Duckworth’s best result since his comeback was winning the Cary, NC $50.000 event after going in as a qualifier. Going into the Canberra event Duckworth is ranked at no. 257.
Polmans also has won a Challenger title in 2018, that came at the Launceston $75,000 event in February. Polmans has also reached finals in Tallahassee and Stockton on the USA Challenger circuit and last week the world no. 137 lost in the Traralgon semifinals to Jordan Thompson.
On a hot afternoon in Canberra Polmans and Duckworth faced off for the first time since 2016. Polmans opened the serving and quickly had a 40-0 advantage. Duckworth worked the score to 40-30 before Polmans hit a short ball for a winner to take the opening game.
Duckworth showed what was to come in his opening service game, firing down 2 aces to level the match at 1-1. From there both players held serve, with neither offering a breakpoint.
In the tiebreak, Polmans handed Duckworth the first point when he dragged a forehand wide. He would recover to see the score at 2-2 before giving Duckworth another mini-break when he left a passing shot that he had a play on, which landed in. Duckworth won the next point to lead 4-2 at the change of ends. The next point saw Polmans hit his return into the net for Duckworth to be two points from the set. Back-to-back Duckworth errors got Polmans to 4-5 before two first serves, including an ace, saw Duckworth win the first set 7-5(4).
In the second set Polmans was able to break Duckworth’s serve in the third game after he hit a shot on the line to take Duckworth off the court, he then hit a down the line winner to win the game.
Polmans held his serve without giving Duckworth a look at a service break and he took the second set 6-4.
The third set was much the same as the first, no breakpoints were earned and the set went to a tiebreak. Duckworth opened the serving and took the first point. Polmans took the second before an unforced Polmans error gave Duckworth the first mini-break. Despite serving a low first serve percentage throughout the match, Duckworth was hitting the serves that mattered.
A missed shot that went just long off the Polmans racquet was followed by a good Duckworth serve that swung wide to force an error. He was now ahead 4-1. Polmans dug in to get back to 4-3 before a crucial point went to Duckworth when Polmans was in a position to hit a winner from mid-court but he sprayed his shot wide.
The next point saw a Polmans attack the net, Duckworth’s pass clipped the net and Polmans did well to volley short. Duckworth got to the ball and lobbed Polmans and despite chasing it down he hit wide to hand Duckworth three match points. He needed just one as he blasted a down the line winner to end the match.
Polmans, despite not giving one break-point was out of the tournament in the first round. In past events he had also played doubles, but not this time.
Duckworth now moves on and has a chance to build on his ranking. A repeat of his 2016 title win will see him jump to around no. 186. Next up for Duckworth is Australia’s Akira Santillan the world no. 304.
In other matches featuring Australians, Andrew Harris advanced past Bradley Mousley 7-6(3), 4-6, 4-0.
Max Purcell defeated Alex Bolt 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-4.
Jordan Thompson defeated Jeremy Beale 6-2, 6-2.
Luke Saville defeated Aleksandar Vukic 6-3, 6-3.
Blake Ellis defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Akira Santillan defeated Alessandro Petrone
Maverick Banes lost to Wu Tung-Lin a lucky loser from Taipei. The score was 6-4, 6-4.