Melbourne, Australia, 9 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

Adam Walton and Dane Sweeny have taken advantage of Australian Open 2023 qualifying wildcards in impressive fashion.

The 23-year-old Walton scored his first Grand Slam-level victory today, stunning Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar in a superb first-round performance at Melbourne Park.

The 14th-seeded Andujar has reached at least the third round of every major, including last year’s Australian Open, but was powerless against the Aussie wildcard.

Walton, currently ranked world No.431, prevailed 6-1 6-2 in a near-flawless display.

“I’m really pleased,” Walton said. “It’s not easy your first time playing a Slam, I’m just grateful Tennis Australia has given me the opportunity to have a wildcard.”

Walton was pleased with his ability to hold his nerve against a player with vastly more Grand Slam experience.

“I took care of a lot of the tight games. They can be big momentum swingers. When you win the really long games it can be absolutely critical,” he said.

The Queenslander played US college tennis before turning professional in mid 2022.

“I’ve chosen a different route to most, going through the college system but I don’t regret that. It’s helped my game so much and I feel like it is really progressing,” he said.

“I was glad to get out here. I’ve been looking forward to today more than anything since I got the word of the wildcard. I’ll savour every day here.”

Sweeny blitzed through his opening-round match, posting a 6-1 6-1 win against No.27-seeded Czech Vit Kopriva.

The 21-year-old Sweeny controlled his match from the outset to progress to the second round in Australian Open qualifying for the third year in a row.

“This is the biggest tournament of the year, so you are always a bit anxious,” said the Queensland talent.

“I expect a lot of myself. I played a solid match, I didn’t try to do too much, I just wanted to do the basics right.”

After reaching the final qualifying round at AO 2021 and the second round last year, world No.240 Sweeny feels he is learning more and more with each passing year.

“Experience is crucial. You can’t buy it. I feel more comfortable than the last couple of years, and more prepared for these big moments,” he said.

“The body feels great, I had a massive pre-season and I’m stronger.”

Aleksandar Vukic, the top-ranked Aussie man in the qualifying draw at world No.129, is also through to the second round. The No.21 seed powered past Canadian Gabriel Diallo 6-3 6-4 this evening.

Tickets to attend Australian Open qualifying are just $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Fans will also be able to see some of the world’s top-ranked players compete in practice matches at Melbourne Park.

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2023 tickets

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Men’s qualifying singles, first round
[21] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d Gabriel Diallo (CAN) 6-3 6-4
Alex Bolt (AUS)
 d Renzo Olivo (ARG) 6-1 6-2
Max Purcell (AUS) d [2] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-2 3-2 ret.
[WC] Adam Walton (AUS) d [14] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-1 6-2
[WC] Dane Sweeny (AUS) d [27] Vit Kopriva (CZE) 6-1 6-1
[20] Zizou Bergs (BEL) d [WC] Jeremy Jin (AUS) 7-6(3) 6-1
Alexandre Muller (FRA) d [WC] James McCabe (AUS) 7-6(2) 6-7(4) 6-3
Peter Gojowczyk (GER) d [WC] Derek Pham (AUS) 6-2 6-2

> READ: Bolt books second-round berth in AO 2023 qualifying

Men’s qualifying singles, first round
James Duckworth (AUS)
 v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Li Tu (AUS) v [25] Jozef Kovalik (SVK)
Omar Jasika (AUS) v [6] Denis Kudla (USA)
Marc Polmans (AUS) v [24] Lukas Klein (SVK)
[WC] Tristan Schoolkate (AUS) v Kimmer Coppejans (BEL)
[WC] Philip Sekulic (AUS) v [30] Yosuke Watanuki (JPN)
[WC] Edward Winter (AUS) v Rio Noguchi (JPN)

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2023 men’s qualifying singles draw

Men’s qualifying singles, second round
[21] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v Thiago Agustin Tirante (ARG)
Alex Bolt (AUS) 
v [22] Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)
Max Purcell (AUS) v Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
[WC] Dane Sweeny (AUS) v Luciano Darderi (ITA)
[WC] Adam Walton (AUS) v Peter Gojowczyk (GER)

> READ: Aiava advances in AO 2023 women’s qualifying singles

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