Persistence pays as Polmans advances at Wimbledon qualifying
Marc Polmans is eyeing the possibility of contesting the main draw at Wimbledon for a second time, after a comeback victory in the qualifying event.
Persistence is proving a powerful weapon for Australia’s Marc Polmans.
After calling on that quality as he recovered from an ankle injury that saw him sidelined from Wimbledon in 2022, the Victorian persisted again to defeat rising American Zachary Svajda in the second round of the 2023 qualifying event.
Recording his 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory in just under two hours, the 26-year-old Polmans is now just one match away from contesting the main draw at The Championships for a second time.
“It’s good to get the win today. It was a long battle and it’s great to be back playing Wimbledon,” enthused Polmans, who underwent surgery during his six-month absence from competition in 2022.
“I was injured last year (at) this time, so I’m very glad to be healthy and back playing again.”
World No.175 Polmans withstood a significant battle from his 20-year-old opponent, with experience ultimately factoring in his come-from-behind win.
“Zach is a very good up-and-coming young American player. I haven’t seen him play much before, so I didn’t really know what to expect but he really surprised me with his high level of tennis today,” said Polmans, whose 31 winners were six more than Svajda amassed.
“I think in the end, I was just able to scrape over the line and yeah – he’s still got many more Wimbledons to be played, so I’m happy I won this one.”
An affinity for grass also helped, with Polmans honing his skills on the famous grass courts at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in Melbourne.
“I think the Aussies have a little bit of an advantage. We grew up playing more, perhaps, on grass,” he commented.
“I’m a member at Kooyong, so when I was a bit younger I played a little bit on grass and it’s good to see it paying off here.”
Fondly recalling watching Roger Federer win eight Wimbledon finals as a child, Polmans is also buoyed by watching many of his countryman achieve career-defining success at the grass-court Grand Slam.
“Rusty (Lleyton Hewitt) doing very well here and Demon and Kyrgios doing so well. It’s really good to see a lot of Aussies doing well at Wimbledon,” he smiled.
Memories of another kind are motivating Polmans as he faces world No.230 Oscar Otte for a chance to gain entry into the main draw.
“It would be amazing,” said Polmans of potentially replicating his 2021 feat, when he progressed to the second round of the main draw. “I’ve already done it once before and that was definitely a highlight of my career so far.
“So I’ll give it my best and hopefully fingers crossed (I can do it again).”
Rinky Hijikata, meanwhile will rue lost opportunities after a straight-sets loss to Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera.
The Australian held set points in the 71-minute first set but was unable to convert.
He also failed to capitalise on a 3-1 second-set lead as he grew increasingly frustrated with Barrios Vera’s impressive shot-making.
It was a similarly challenging day for No.7 men’s seed James Duckworth, who suffered a straight-sets loss to Frenchman Harold Mayot.
Mayot, who at world No.180 is ranked significantly lower than 109th-ranked Duckworth, seized breaks in the ninth game of each set to gain the ascendancy.
With rain temporarily suspending play at Roehampton, Duckworth was unable to wrest momentum from the 21-year-old, who fired 14 aces among 23 total winners.
Aussies in action – Wimbledon
Gentlemen’s qualifying singles, second round
Marc Polmans (AUS) d Zachary Svajda (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-3
Harold Mayot (FRA) d  James Duckworth (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Tomas Barrios Vera (CHI) d  Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 7-6(3) 7-6(2)
Ladies’ qualifying singles, second round
 Olivia Gadecki (AUS) d Ann Li (USA) 6-3 6-1
Storm Hunter (AUS) d  Elina Avanesyan 7-6(1) 7-6(2)
 Lucrezia Stefanini (ITA) d Priscilla Hon (AUS) 6-2 7-6(5)
 Viktoria Hruncakova (SVK) d Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Gentlemen’s qualifying singles, final round
Marc Polmans (AUS) v Oscar Otte (GER)
Ladies’ qualifying singles, final round
 Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Jessica Bouzas Maneiro (ESP)
Storm Hunter (AUS) v  Nao Hibino (JPN)
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!