Bolt and Mott storm into maiden AO draw
Alex Bolt and Blake Mott are celebrating their maiden appearance in a Grand Slam main draw having battled through qualifying at Melbourne Park.
Alex Bolt and Blake Mott are celebrating their maiden appearance in a Grand Slam main draw having battled through qualifying to stamp their name in the Australian Open schedule.
The Aussies rose to the occasion with three stunning victories at Melbourne Park this week.
Bolt, having spent the majority of 2016 injured on the sidelines, earned his ticket to the Australian Open by prevailing past former world No.25 French veteran Julien Benneteau 6-3 7-5.
One telling break and an 88 per cent success rate on first serves clinched an emphatic 6-4 opener for world No.521 Bolt in just 26 minutes. The second set was finely poised until the 24-year-old broke in game 11 to surge to a memorable victory.
“What an unbelievable feeling. This is just my second tournament back and I’ve managed to qualify for a Grand Slam. It’s unreal,” declared Bolt, who has been handed a clash with Japan’s world No.100 Yoshihito Nishioka.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, he’s a quality player and I had to play really well. To beat someone like that to qualify for my first Grand Slam is pretty special.”
Earlier on 20-year-old Blake Mott had surged into the main draw by defeating Ireland’s James McGee 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 and has been rewarded with the task of toppling 18th seed Richard Gasquet.
“I’m a bit speechless at the minute, but it’s amazing to qualify for my first Grand Slam in the country where I grew up playing tennis, watching on TV all those years, it’s pretty special.”
Mott admitted he was struggling physically in the Melbourne heat but managed to haul himself back from 2-5 in the first set to then play on the front foot to take the tie-break.
The world No.284 let McGee back into the match in the second whilst suffering from cramp, then let a 5-1 lead slip in the decider before rediscovering his groove.
“I got a second wind in the final set, started playing some good tennis and stayed calm under pressure.
“Coming through qualies is a good achievement but I really think I can do well here. I’ll give it a real crack in the main draw.”
Elsewhere and the No.1 seed Radek Stepanek ended the run of JP Smith with a 6-2, 6-4 win and Olivia Rogowska’s fine qualifying run has been halted by 6th seed Julia Boserup 6-2 6-1.