MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — To see so many American players in the men’s draw for Week 2 of the Australian Open, you have to go back almost 20 years.
The 2004 quartet included two Grand Slam champions, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, but all are new in this year’s four qualifiers. 25 year old Tommy Paul. JJ Wolf, 24 years old. Sebastian Korda, 22, and his 20-year-old Ben Shelton will make their debut in the Round of 16 of the Major at Melbourne Park.RELATED
For them, and for other young players still in contention, it might seem like an opportunity to achieve a career-record result.
Honestly, I have a game-by-game mentality, so I haven’t really thought about it too much, but I think it’s hard for anyone to look beyond that. said Wolf, who was ranked 67th in the APT after defeating compatriot Michael Moe 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
“But there’s a reason for the surprise. There are a lot of good people here. It’s a real opportunity,” he added.
Wolff will once again face 89th-ranked American Shelton. In his first trip abroad, Shelton extended his stay at his maiden Australian Open by beating Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin with his 6-3 7-6 (4) 6-4 win. .
The 35th-ranked Paul beat California’s Jenson Brooksby 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. His next opponent is No. 14-seeded Roberto Bautista He is Agut (Spain) and has beaten veteran Andy Murray’s grueling stint in Melbourne 6-1 6-7 (7) 6-3 6-4 won with
The 35-year-old Briton had won two marathon bouts to reach this round of five finals in Australia. Add in Saturday’s nearly three-and-a-half-hour duel, and Murray has spent more than 14 hours on the court this week. He won his five sets in the first round, and in the second his clash ended just after 4am. morning. .
As a result, the final result of the third round left Novak Djokovic as the only player among the 16 players who have moved forward who know what it is like to win a Grand Slam title. rice field. His 15 remaining only made it into his one final loss to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (who ranks him third in the world) against Serbia at Roland Garros in 2021.
Russia’s Andrei Rublev (No. 5 seed) defeated Dan Evans 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 and hit 60 winners, including 10 aces, to advance to the 16th round for the first time in four years. bottom. His rival is 19-year-old Dane Holger Loon (ninth), who beat France’s Hugo Humbert 6-4, 6-2, 7-6.
No one has made it to the quarterfinals in a tournament of this level. The same goes for Australia’s Alex De Minaur, 23, who qualified on Saturday and has a difficult task of overtaking Djokovic for 21 Grand Slams. Nine were won in Melbourne. Additionally, the Serb is on a 24-game streak after beating Grigor his Dimitrov 7-6 (7) 6-3 6-4 despite a possible left hamstring problem. is winning.
In the women’s draw, world No. 5 Alina Sabalenka will face WTA No. 12 Belinda Bencic in the Round of 16. Sabalenka is 7-0 so far in 2023 after beating Elise Mertens her 6-2 6-3 and Bencic beat Camila Giorgi her 6-2 7-5. extended her winning streak to her eight.
Other matchups set for Week 2: Caroline Garcia (4) vs. Magdalinet — 0-6 in the third round of the Major before defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova (19) 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday. Yes — two-time finalists Karolina Pliskova vs. Zhang Shuai, 23, and Donna Vekic vs. Linda Hrwirtova, 17.
“It’s so surreal,” admitted Hluwirtova, who made her second Grand Slam appearance and defeated 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondersova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. She said, “Yes, it’s an incredible feeling. I’m so happy and excited to be able to say ‘Hello, Week 2.'”
AP reporter Simon Cambers contributed to the report