Saville joins Australian Open exits
Australian Open teenage wildcard Luke Saville's tournament has ended in disappointment with a first round loss to Japan's Go Soeda.
Australian Open teenage wildcard Luke Saville’s tournament has ended in disappointment with a first round loss to Japan’s Go Soeda.
Saville joined the growing list of local losers with a 6-7(7) 6-3 6-2 6-3 loss to world No.73 Soeda.
Saville, who last year won the Australian Open junior boys tournament, is ranked 349 in the world with this tournament marking his grand slam singles debut.
In contrast Soeda, 28, has been on the tour for 10 years and was ranked as high as 47 in the world last year.
The 18-year-old former junior world No.1 Saville started strongly and was up 5-2 in the first set before being forced into a tie-break which he took 7-4.
Soeda started to dominate in the second and third sets, when Saville was forced to call for the trainer, appearing to suffer cramps in his thighs.
He got an early break in the fourth set and led 2-0 before the Japanese journeyman lifted to over-run him 6-3 to take the match.
Saville said he was felt he was able to match Soeda on the tennis front but was let down by his fitness.
“I played a good first set and was in there early in the second but he started to get on top,” Saville said.
“I was struggling physically in the third and fourth which is very disappointing.
“I didn’t lose that match on the tennis front, it was more physically.”
Saville said it was the first time he’d played the five-set format in a grand slam and he’d also been feeling some nerves.
“I actually pride myself on my fitness, I’m a fit guy; running, doing three kilometre time-trials, but I guess it’s a different fitness out there.”
Earlier on day two fellow Queenslander John-Patrick Smith succumbed to Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4 6-1 6-4.
Smith said he was disappointed with his performance after losing two sets to one to Sousa in the recent Australian Open warm-up tournament in Sydney.
“It was a tough match … it wasn’t the game I wanted but it was still a great experience and it’s something I can learn from,” Smith said.
“I didn’t serve great but the good thing is that I’ve still got doubles and mixed coming up so it’s not the end of the world.”