Lloyd su­per-con­fi­dent ahead of Aussie Open de­but

Saturday Star - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS ockert.dev­il­[email protected]

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.

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