Canberra ACT, Australia, 8 January 2018 | David Packman

Queensland teenager Alexander Crnokrak will make his ATP Challenger debut at the East Hotel Canberra Challenger on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old was rewarded with a wildcard into the event after recently taking out the 18/u Australian Championships at the December Showdown at Melbourne Park. With eleven of the world’s top 100 players competing and fourteen going on to play at next week’s Australian Open 2018, the tournament boasts a solid field.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m really excited,” he said. “It will be such a different experience against these higher ranked guys.”

Crnokrak will face unseeded Frenchman Geoffrey Blancaneaux, two years his senior – albeit still a teenager – and the world No.252.

“I haven’t seen him play but I sort of understand his game,” Crnokrak added. “I’ve been getting some good feedback.

“I will just try and do the things I do well and see how it goes.”

Crnokrak will also feature at the Australian Open 2018 junior boys event. “I’d love to do really well there,” he said. “After that I will just try and play as many Futures and Challengers as I can to improve my ATP ranking as much as possible. That’s one of my main goals.”

The teenager is also motivated by the rising success of fellow youngsters Alex De Minaur and Alexei Popyrin.

“Those guys are only a year or two older than me, so I look at them and think maybe I can achieve that as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, in opening round action on Monday, seventh-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi edged past world No.90 Maximilan Marterer of Germany in a deciding set tiebreaker while Tunisia’s Malek Jaizri withdrew down 6-2 5-1 against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, the No.6 seed.

Chilean world No.104 Nicolas Jarry had too much for 18-year-old Corentin Moutet of France, a wildcard recipient into Australian Open 2018, winning 7-6(4) 6-3.

Serbian Laslo Djere was only seeded casualty, the No.8 seed falling to Frenchman Maxime Janvier in three sets.

Of the Australians, Luke Saville was defeated by fifth seed Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic while Ben Mitchell won the battle of the wildcards over Dane Proppogia, recovering from a set down to win 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Harry Bourchier, Thomas Fancutt and Jeremy Beale all won their final qualifying rounds.

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Photo: Ben Southall