Groth, Duckworth, Saville qualify for Wimbledon
UPDATE: Australians Sam Groth, James Duckworth and Luke Saville all won their final round matches on Thursday to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon.
Australians Sam Groth, James Duckworth and Luke Saville all won their final round matches on Thursday to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon.
The trio all won in vastly different circumstances at Roehampton; Duckworth cruised to a straight-sets victory over Austrian Martin Fischer, while Luke Saville won an epic four-hour battle over Yann Marti of Switzerland, ending at 8-6 in the fifth set.
Groth sealed his place at Wimbledon with a four-set victory over Italian 13th seed Simone Bolleli.
Compatriots Alex Bolt and Ash Barty were unable to join them at the All England Club, with Bolt falling in four sets to Russian Konstantin Kravchuk while Barty was pipped in a three-set thrilled by fellow teen Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Barty had chances to level the match in the third set, moving to 0-40 in the 10th game after Kontaveit tightened with the finish line in sight.
Yet some timely winners and desperate retrieving kept the Estonian alive; a final Barty error handed Kontaveit a 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 win.
Saville continues rich vein of form
Saville’s victory capped an extremely impressive week for the 20-year-old South Australian.
In the first round he upset qualifying top seed Thomasz Bellucci, and on Thursday he rallied to save a match point in the fourth set tiebreak, and also recovered from a break down in the fifth, to eventually oust Marti 2-6 6-3 5-7 7-6(7) 8-6.
“I’ve been playing great tennis all week,” Saville said.
“I really like the grass. My past experience obviously at Wimbledon (winning the junior event in 2011) and winning the Mildura Futures at the start of the year, it’s almost like a second home for me … I’m absolutely stoked right now to be honest.”
The victory marked the first time Saville has successfully qualified for any Grand Slam tournament, and it will be just his second start in the main draw at a major event; the first came at the Australian Open in 2013.
His three victories at Roehampton this week were his first ever Grand Slam qualifying wins.
“It’s been a great year for me so far, a very good six months so far. I won three Futures at the start of the year, and that really turned my season around after a pretty poor 2013 (season),” he said.
“So some Futures (victories) and now to qualify for my first Grand Slam, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Groth achieves qualifying milestone
Also qualifying for his first major event was Groth, who advanced to the main draw with a 6-2 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 over Bolleli.
It’s a continuation of the big-serving Victorian’s stellar 2014 form; he recently reached the final round of qualifying at Roland Garros, and currently sits at a career-high ranking of No.125 after reaching the Nottingham Challenger final on grass last week.
“This is a tournament I’ve wanted to play ever since I was a young kid … for me it’s an unbelievable feeling to qualify, not just here but for my first time ever at any Grand Slam, so I’m pretty happy,” he said.
Groth said that moving from the clay at Roland Garros – where he also enjoyed success by reaching the men’s doubles semifinals – to the slick grass courts of England had only further enhanced his game.
“Obviously my serve is a lot more dangerous here. Today was the first time I’ve been broken in 18 sets on the grass and that was just through a pretty bad game (in the second set), a tiny lapse of concentration,” he laughed.
“If I keep doing all the right things that I’ve been doing leading up, and then coming onto a surface that really suits my game style, I feel like I can be dangerous (at Wimbledon).”
Duckworth produces commanding performance
Earlier in the day, Duckworth advanced with a comprehensive 6-4 7-6(5) 6-4 over Fischer, the second straight year the New South Welshman has qualified for Wimbledon.
Duckworth battled hard in his first two matches, overcoming injury in his first round win and then a game opponent in 30th seed Farrukh Dustov in the second round, coming out on top of a battle that extended to 8-6 in the third set.
It simply served to make qualification for the main draw at SW19 on Thursday all the more sweet.
“Getting through quallies again for the second year is a dream come true,” he said.
“I wasn’t really fancying my chances at the start of the week. On Saturday I got a bit of a back injury and couldn’t practice on Sunday. Monday (in the first round) playing was a real battle, I was sevring at about 60 per cent or so, I was really struggling. But credit to my physio who worked pretty hard on getting my back right, and it’s pretty much 100 per cent now.”
Boosting Duckworth’s confidence ahead of the qualifying event was his strong showing at the ATP Queen’s Club, where he qualified, advanced to the second round, and pushed second seed Tomas Berdych to three tough sets.
That result, plus owning a game well-suited to the lawns, has filled him with belief entering the main draw beginning on Monday.
“My serve works well on this (surface),” he said.
“I feel like I can definitely do some damage here.”