Bolt wins Launceston opener
Alex Bolt's dream comeback continues with first-up win at Launceston ATP Challenger.
Wildcard Alex Bolt has opened his campaign at the Neville Smith Forest Products Launceston International with a three-set victory over James Frawley.
The South Australian didn’t have things all his own way on Monday, with Frawley dominating the second set before Bolt managed to turn things around for a hard-fought 6-4 2-6 6-2 win.
“My early momentum got me the first set but James came out firing after that,” Bolt said. “He put me under a lot of pressure but I composed myself and managed to reverse the roles.”
While it won’t get any easier for Bolt, as he awaits the winner of Japanese top seed Go Soeda and young Aussie Alex De Minaur, the 24-year-old is enjoying every moment of his recent return to the professional game.
“I’m loving being out competing again,” he said. “I could not have asked for a better start to my comeback. It’s been unreal.”
In comparing his mindset to that of his previous stint on tour, Bolt says it’s completely different these days. “It’s like night and day. I feel like I’m a lot freer on court. I am just playing tennis now. It’s that simple.”
Meanwhile, wildcard Maverick Banes created the upset of the day, bundling out third seed Jason Jung of Taiwan. Chris O’Connell was also on the winners list, defeating countryman Dayne Kelly in straight sets.
Local favourite Harry Bourchier was valiant in taking a set from sixth seed Mohamed Safwat, but eventually succumbed 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3.The Egyptian will now take on O’Connell in the second round.
Recent Burnie titlist Omar Jasika will head to the courts on Tuesday, opening his campaign against Kazakh Dmitry Popko, a return bout after their semifinal clash last week.
A much-anticipated match-up between Luke Saville and American No.7 seed Noah Rubin will also take place, ahead of Burnie finalist Blake Mott facing Brit Bryden Klein, Max Purcell taking on German qualifier Sebastian Fanselow and Marc Polmans playing another American in Evan King.
Fourth seed Andrew Whittington will be looking to turn around the result from Burnie when takes on Slovak Blaz Rola in the opening round for the second time in a fortnight.
Czech second seed Jan Satral will also open his account on Tuesday against Italian Riccardo Bellotti.