South Aussies shine in Playford
Alex Bolt and Luke Saville keep the home fires burning with opening victories at the ATP Challenger in Playford.
The City of Playford Tennis International II continued on Tuesday with local South Australians Alex Bolt and Luke Saville both making their way through their first matches with straight sets victories.
Bolt, the No.5 seed, got the better of Finland’s Patrik Niklas-Salminen 6-3 7-6(3) – a second round match after his opening bye – while Saville defeated Lucas Gerch of Germany 7-6(2) 6-3 in their first-round encounter.
“The last few tournaments I haven’t made it past the first round so it was good to get that first win under my belt,” Bolt, 26, said.
The current world No.162 has had a mixed year on tour, highlighted by his third-round run at the Australian Open in January which saw him reach a career-high ranking of No.125 shortly after.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs but overall, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at,” he said. “I’ve consolidated my spot for Aussie Open quallies so I can’t be too disappointed with how the year’s gone.
“I proved to myself that I can win matches again those top guys at the start of the year, so that’s given me the world of confidence that I know I can take it to them.”
Bolt is under no illusion that his powerful game, when it’s on, can trouble even the best in the world.
“I’m the type of player that will live and die by the sword. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t, that’s the game style I try to bring, and if I’m up and firing, I can take it to anyone,” he said.
This week, Bolt is focused on the opportunity to do well on home soil. “I don’t get to come back here too often, let alone play in my hometown, which is really nice,” he said. “A lot of my family and friends were able to come down and watch me today so hopefully I can get some more out during the week and make a bit of a run.”
Second seed James Duckworth also advanced to the third round, defeating Alexander Crnokrak 6-3 7-5, after the Gold Coast teenager enjoyed a maiden ATP Challenger victory in the previous round.
Wildcard Tristan Schoolkate continued his solid Australian Pro Tour form upsetting No.13 seed Aleksander Vukic in three sets while fellow wildcard Dane Sweeny also enjoyed a victory, defeating qualifier Mislav Bosnjak.
The resurgent Blake Mott continued to impress, ousting No.16 seed, Tasmanian Harry Bourchier, 4-6 6-2 6-2.
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