Melbourne, Australia, 9 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

Alex Bolt’s comeback took another leap forward with a dominant victory in the opening round of Australian Open 2023 qualifying at Melbourne Park today.

The 30-year-old South Australian is searching for his seventh Australian Open main-draw appearance in a row and moved a step closer with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Renzo Olivo.

Contesting qualifying at the Australian Open for the first time since 2017, Bolt is feeling at home on the big stage again.

“I love the conditions out here in Australia and I’ve played well on these courts before,” he said.

“I’m confident that I know how to play well in these big stadiums and at these big events.”

Having missed six months with injury in 2022, Bolt entered this tournament with a protected ranking of world No.203.

“It’s a lot more comfortable playing at home. You get all your friends and family watching you, it’s good for your routine and consistency. Plus, we get tons of support in the stands which always helps us Aussies,” said Bolt.

The world No.639 made his tour return in October, winning an Australian Pro Tour title in Cairns.

“I had about six months off last year and I’m feeling fresh and really hungry, so let’s get into it,” said Bolt, who will now face Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi in the second round.

Max Purcell’s quest for a second Australian Open main-draw appearance remains on track too. He was leading 6-3 3-2 when Roland Garros 2018 semifinalist Marco Cecchinato retired in their first-round match.

Purcell created seven break points to zero, and struck seven aces to zero, while committing only 10 unforced errors against the Italian.

He will now take on Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second round. Purcell, who is looking to make his first Australian Open main-draw appearance since 2020, has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months on the doubles circuit, winning Wimbledon and reaching the AO final alongside Matt Ebden.

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

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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