Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2024 | Jackson Mansell

Chris O’Connell is confident a fruitful Australian Open 2024 campaign will help his quest to break into the world’s top 50.

The 29-year-old entered this year’s Australian Open at world No.68, his highest-ever ranking at a Grand Slam tournament.

In his opening round, O’Connell fought back from a two-sets-to-one deficit to defeat former top-20 player Cristian Garin and notch his first five-set win.

He then carried this momentum into a second-round showdown with 16th seed Ben Shelton, where he stole a set off the big-serving American.

“I think I’m pretty close to it, but you’ve got to have the wins,” the Australian said on his top-50 aspirations.

“I can clean up a few things. I’m just learning every match.

“I just need a few more wins here and there. If I go a bit deeper in tournaments, I’ll be in the top 50.”

It concludes a promising summer for the hard-working O’Connell, who advanced to his first ATP-level quarterfinal on home soil at the Adelaide International.

“I’m pretty happy as a whole with my January,” he said after Shelton’s 6-4 6-1 3-6 7-6(5) victory ended his Australian Open singles campaign.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here this week and hopefully I can just keep playing good tennis, because I think I really can break into the top 50 and be competitive.”

O’Connell now turns his attention to the Australian Open men’s doubles competition, where he is teaming with Serbia’s Laslo Djere.

They face the reigning champions, Aussies Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler, in the opening round.

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Looking ahead in 2024, O’Connell is excited to about the possibilities.

Only 132 ranking points shy of the top 50, the New South Welshman believes a high volume of matches can help him reach that level.

“Being healthy, having a full schedule, choosing when I’m going to have my weeks off and choosing the tournaments I want to play,” O’Connell said on his plans to crack the top 50.

“I am competitive in some of the ATP 250 events, but I want to push for a title at some stage and aim to have good, solid results at the bigger events, the Masters events, and the three Slams left in the year.”

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