Christopher Eubanks’ Golden Opportunity

Maybe we could call this the opportunity of a lifetime for Christopher Eubanks…no, that’s too much. As the Australian Open begins, Eubanks engages one of the best opportunities of his young career.

The 23-year-old American carries both an 0-3 record in Grand Slam main draw matches and a 3-0 2020 record into the first round of the year’s first Grand Slam event. For the first time in a Grand Slam main draw match, Eubanks will face an opponent outside of the world Top 100. On Tuesday, Eubanks matches up with fellow qualifier, world #119 Peter Gojowczyk of Germany.

Christopher Eubanks at the 2020 Australian Open

3 in a Row – First in a While

After a tough 2019 campaign, Eubanks needed to do some work to reach the main draw of this year’s first Grand Slam. For only the second time in nearly a year, the young American won three consecutive matches to advance through Australian Open qualifying. His last three match winning streak came at the New York Open, an ATP 250 event held last February.

This time, Eubanks mixed toughness and some luck to secure his spot with the big boys. First, Eubanks knocked out fellow American twenty-something Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, nabbing a nail-biting second set tiebreaker 10-8. Eubanks then dodged a tough opponent when journeyman Vicktor Troicki withdrew from their match despite having taken the first set from Eubanks. The Georgia native took advantage of his good fortune in the qualifying final by knocking out world #158 Kimmer Coppejans in two tight sets 6-4 7-6.

Only American Qualifier

American men filled ten of the 128 spots in the qualifying draw for the Australian Open. The American force ranged from youngsters like 22-year-old Maxime Cressy to experienced Donald Young. Yet, only Eubanks successfully survived the three-match journey to the main draw. #22 seed Bradley Klahn topped the list of six Americans to fall in the first round, while #7 seed Dennis Kudla headlined the group of three Americans to fall in the second round. Only Eubanks advanced to the third and final round of qualifying, a disappointing showing by the relatively young American contingent.

Now Is the Time

The friendly and talented Eubanks needs to seize this moment to propel his career forward. After gaining entrance to the 2019 US Open main draw, Eubanks narrowly fell to world #32 Cristian Garin in five tough sets. Despite winning a tough fourth set tiebreaker to knot the match at two sets apiece, Eubanks could not break through. His 0-3 record in Grand Slams is not a disaster, but the clock is ticking.

This time can be different. Carrying momentum, recent slam experience and a relatively friendly draw, Eubanks finds Gojowczyk across the net. A fellow qualifier, the German holds a 4-14 record in Grand Slam main draw matches. Gojowczyk has had more success than Eubanks at this level, but not by much. This is Eubanks’ time–it is the opportunity of a lifetime…almost.

Main Photo from Getty.

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