Men’s qualifying at the 2019 Australian Open is complete and here is your look at the players who progressed through three rounds of action to reach the main draw that starts on Monday.
Teens Kecmanovic and Molleker Qualify
Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic is 19 years old and just reached his first Grand Slam main draw after three wins with just one set dropped in total. Kecmanovic has previously won a pair of challenger titles and despite his limited experience at the tour level, he was a decorated junior player (winning the Orange Bowl most notably) and that should give him confidence on the big stage. Kecmanovic is potentially the next big thing in Serbian tennis after Novak Djokovic. His AO journey begins against veteran Fernando Verdasco, in a section where Marin Cilic is the toughest opponent. If he finds form he could do some damage.
Rudolf Molleker of Germany is also making his Grand Slam main draw debut. Molleker has one career challenger title to his name at age 18 and peaked as the junior world #10. Molleker had some tough matches in qualifying, as he was pushed to three sets twice including in his final round qualifying match against Oscar Otte. With his limited experience an opening round against Diego Schwartzman would come as a shock, but expect to hear more from this ATP young gun later in the season.
Eubanks, Fratangelo, and Krueger Strengthen American Contingent
Chris Eubanks, Bjorn Fratangelo, and Mitch Krueger enter the main draw via qualifying, joining wild card Jack Sock and a host of other Americans at AO 2019. The 22 year old Eubanks is playing in his second career slam main draw after dropping 1 set in qualifying, and has one challenger title to his name. After a solid career at Georgia Tech he turned pro and has been building up his ranking with the top 100 his target for 2019. Eubanks will have a puncher’s chance against Nikoloz Basilashvili and could go as far as the third round.
Frantangelo has 2 previous slam wins, and briefly cracked the top 100 in 2016. He’s a big underdog against the veteran Gilles Simon but consecutive three set wins in qualifying should give him some confidence. The journeyman Krueger is playing in his second consecutive slam. His three qualifying wins came in three sets and for his trouble he gets to face world #1 Novak Djokovic in the first round. Even forcing a tiebreak against Djokovic would be an achievement as he is extremely unlikely to claim his first slam main draw win this time around.
Veterans Vanni, Troicki, Ito and Laaksonen Reach Main Draw
33 year old Luca Vanni will again look for his maiden slam main draw victory after easing through qualifying, however the odds are long against Pablo Carreno Busta. Former top 15 Serb Viktor Troicki has made the third round multiple times in Melbourne. He’ll be favored against Roberto Carballes Baena in round 1 and should draw talented young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in a round 2 match worth watching.
Japan’s Tatsuma Ito has two previous main draw wins in Melbourne. Ito, now 30, will take on fellow qualifier Dan Evans in round 1 after a tough qualifying effort that saw him win two tiebreaks in his final match. Evans is slowly moving his way back up the rankings and should be favored against Ito in round 1, in 2017 Evans reached the second week in Melbourne.
Former top 100 journeyman Henri Laaksonen will get his third chance at a slam main draw win when he faces Mirza Basic in round 1. Laaksonen dropped a set in qualifying and is the underdog, but Basic is far from the most difficult round 1 opponent to draw.
Gunneswaran, Majchrzak and Sakharov Make Slam Debuts
Indian fans will rally behind Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the 29 year old won a pair of challenger titles last year and just reached his first slam main draw. Gunneswaran faces Frances Tiafoe in the opening round after a final round win in qualifying that took three sets. Gleb Sakharov is making his main draw debut in a slam, the journeyman Frenchman opens with Max Marterer after winning his final two qualifying matches in three sets.
Kamil Majchrzak of Poland (22) has yet to crack the top 150 but he was a solid player in junior tennis and didn’t drop a set in qualifying. His main draw debut in a slam will come as a heavy underdog against Kei Nishikori.
Duckworth and Kokkinakis Find Success At Home
James Duckworth earned the playoff wild card for Australian players against Luke Saville in December. The battler known as “Ducky” fought as hard off the court as he does on it. Enduring five surgeries to return to tennis. Duckworth has three previous wins at the AO and was previously in the top 100, he’s unlikely to get past Rafa Nadal though.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, another celebrated Aussie who has struggled to stay healthy, is back in the main draw. The 22 year old former top 70 player has two previous wins in Melbourne and punched his ticket to a round 1 match against Taro Daniel after easing through qualifying without dropping a set. A round 2 blockbuster against Denis Shapovalov looms.
AO Qualifiers Round Up
Stefano Travaglia has a great shot at getting his second career slam win. He drew fellow journeyman Guido Andreozzi after dropping a set in qualifying and has a section where he could do some damage.
32 year old Li Zhe of China won the Asia-Pacific wild card to earn his slam debut in Melbourne. Li has never cracked the top 200 and is unlikely to make much progress against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Lloyd Harris of South Africa is playing in his second straight slam main draw, the 21 year old is close to the top 100 and won a pair of challenger titles last year. Harris will be lucky to nab a set against the in-form Daniil Medvedev in round 1.