Eight Australian men took to the courts at the Bank of England Tennis centre in Roehampton with Wimbledon in their sights. All eight advanced (see results below).
“I would say (the feeling was) relief, really, got out of jail free card there. I really don’t know how I won that,” said Bolt, who fought off a tough challenge from Italy’s Jannik Sinner.
“He played some quality tennis and I somehow just weathered the storm.
“He’s ridiculous. For a set and a half, he completely outplayed me and I couldn’t have a play on the ball, he was by far the better player on court. If he can just keep that level for longer periods of time he’s going to be a very good player.”
Duckworth said after his 6-1, 7-5 over Britain’s Jan Choinski. “It always tough your first match, a few nerves. The court was fresh, hasn’t been played on, was a little bit slippery,” he said. “I probably dealt with those conditions a little bit better than what he did, having played probably a few more grass-court events than he has.
“I strained by adductor just landing on a serve (at Roland Garros), so I’ve gotten over that, which is good, did quite a bit of rehab on that, missed about three weeks.
“I feel like I’m slowly getting a little bit better, played a couple of good matches last week in Ilkley and I’m hoping to improve every match.”
Duckworth’s opponent was playing with a heavily strapped knee and slipped a few times. Late in the match, he had a heavy fall and tried to have the match delayed as he though the court was not fit for play.
Jason Kubler was another Aussie to pull off and escape. He defeated Switzerland’s no. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen after being 0-40 when serving at 4-5. He would win the next 12 points to escape that situation.
Kubler was well supported by fellow Aussie players. “I think that’s probably the one thing we do very well as a country,” Kubler says of the Aussie camaraderie.
“There are a lot of guys who are at this tournament, and even some who aren’t in this tournament that are here.
The top-ranked Australian playing the qualies is Alexei Popyrin, the current world no. 99. “Gotta get the hang of moving a little bit on it, slipped a couple of times here and there. But I like the grass, I think it suits my game pretty well and definitely, we’ve got a few things to work on with the team, but we’ll get there,” said Popyrin after his straight-sets win over Federico Coria.
Wimbledon Qualifying results and round two opponents
James Duckworth d Jan Choinski GBR 6-1, 7-5. R2 vs Viktor Galovic CRO
Marc Polmans d Mohamed Safwat EGY 6-1, 6-3. R2 vs Soonwoo Kwon (24) KOR
Andrew Harris d Enrique Lopez Perez ESP 6-2, 7-5. R2 vs SergiyStakhovsky (17) UKR
Jason Kubler d Henri Laaksonen (2) SUI 6-2,5-7, 7-5. R2 vs Norbert Gombos SVK
Alexei Popyrin (4) d Federico Coria ARG 6-2, 7-5. R2 vs Mats Moraing GER
John-Patrick Smith d Nicolas Mahut FRA 6-3, 6-4. R2 vs Salvatore Caruso (18) ITA
Alex Bolt d Jannik Sinner ITA 2-6, 7-5, 12-10. R2 vs Dennis Novak (14) AUT
Akira Santillan d Jurij Rodionov 6-3, 6-1. R2 vs Ruben Bemelmans BEL