British trio edging closer
British trio Alex Bogdanovic, James Ward and Dan Evans moved a step closer to the Australian Open main draw after qualifying victories.
Last Updated: 13/01/10 10:58am
British trio Alex Bogdanovic, James Ward and Dan Evans all moved a step closer to the Australian Open main draw after claiming straight-sets victories in the first round of qualifying.
World number 171 Bogdanovic overcame Austria's Martin Slanar, ranked 687, 6-4 6-3 and has two further qualifying rounds to navigate as he bids to reach the main draw.
The 25-year-old said of his win: "It was solid. I played well for my first match of the year. I was happy to get through it.
"My off-season has been good; I trained pretty hard and I feel ready. I got in on Thursday night so I've had a bit of time to get used to the conditions and playing in the heat - I'm glad it was a bit cooler today than it has been, though.
"I've qualified for a grand slam once before and I've won matches in grand slam qualifying so I know what I have to do. You just have to take it one match at a time and not get ahead of yourself."
British number three Ward had a marginally tougher assignment against Australian Matt Reid but posted a 6-4 6-4 victory.
Having spent time hitting with Rafael Nadal last month, 22-year-old Ward, 261st in the world, ousted the 503rd-ranked Reid to move a step closer to joining the Spanish superstar in the first Grand Slam of the year.
Ward said: "It wasn't easy. It was difficult because he was serving very well and he's a young guy who has had some good results and they obviously think a lot of him here."
And Evans became the third British man to reach the second round of qualifying later on Wednesday, beating 17-year-old Australian Sean Berman 7-5 6-1.
Evans said: "I was a bit slow out there at first, a bit lethargic because of the conditions and because I'd been waiting around all day. I only flew in from Auckland last night and I was tired.
"He was good though, he does one thing, he just hits it. I knew the first set was the key."
Ireland also had two winners on the first day of qualifying.
Conor Niland beat Finland's Henri Kontinen 6-4 6-4, and Louk Sorensen knocked out Monaco's Benjamin Balleret 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.