South Africa will have three players in the main draw of the Australian Open after Lloyd Harris won his deciding qualifying match yesterday to reach the second Grand Slam of his career.
The 22-year-old overcame the third and final qualifying hurdle by beating German veteran Dustin Brown 6-1, 7-6 (12/10).
“I felt really good throughout the match. The first set went by in a blink of an eye but in the second set, the match had a lot of swings and big moments. Dustin Brown is one of the trickiest opponents, so I had to stay calm and focused throughout,” Harris said.
Harris continues his rise in international tennis following a stellar 2018 reaching a career-high 110th ATP world ranking after winning two Challenger Series titles.
He made it into his first Grand Slam at the 2018 US Open where former world number six Gilles Simon of France knocked him out in the first round.
The Cape Town-based player said he was primed for his Aussie Open debut where he will face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who is ranked 16th in the world.
“My body is feeling great, I am confident that I will be at my 100% for my first-round match,” Harris said.
“It has been amazing for me to bring such a high level of tennis to some of the biggest tournaments that I have played so far.
“So, I’m really happy to have qualified and now I’m just looking to take the next hurdle in the main draw.”
Meanwhile, South African doubles supremo Raven Klaasen and New Zealand partner Michael Venus played out of their skins to claim their biggest scalps as a partnership at the Auckland Open.
They beat iconic American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan, who have won a total of 114 doubles titles together, 6-4, 6-1 to march into today’s final.
The South African-Kiwi duo will go up against Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff in the final with the hope of winning their second tour-level title together.
The match is a repeat of the 2018 Rakuten Japan Open final where McLachlan and Struff claimed a 6-4, 7-5 victory.