Sunday, 20 December 2015

Inglis and Duckworth Open Wildcards

Teenager Maddison Inglis has crashed Arina Rodionova’s party to score a maiden main-draw berth at next month’s Australian Open. Inglis produced a masterful performance to win the women’s wildcard playoff with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Rodionova, who was playing the day after marrying Richmond AFL player Ty Vickery.

Inglis’ triumph came a week after narrowly missing out on the final of the under-18 Australian championship. “I was exhausted after the 18s, just mentally and physically,” she said. “I don’t know how I got through it. I’m so happy right now. I actually can’t believe it still. I was so nervous during that whole second set, I can’t believe I got through it, to be honest.”

Apart from a coveted grand slam main-draw debut, the West Australian youngster is also guaranteed the biggest pay cheque of her fledgling career - at least $34,500. Rodionova was backing up after a huge weekend which saw her win a torrid three-set semi-final on Saturday morning before rushing off to her wedding.

The 26-year-old was understandably drained during Sunday’s final, her third straight loss in an Australian Open playoff decider after falling to Daria Gavrilova last year and Casey Dellacqua in 2013.

Earlier, James Duckworth capped his career-best season by winning the men’s wildcard playoff. He was handed a walkover in the final after Ben Mitchell made a mad dash to Brisbane to be with his partner for the birth of their first child.

After cracking world’s top 100 this year for the first time and also contesting all four grand slam events, Duckworth will make his fifth consecutive appearance in the men’s main draw at Melbourne Park. “It would have been nice to win properly but that’s the way it goes,” Duckworth said. “We’ve always had tough matches in the past so I wouldn’t have expected anything different today. There’s not much between us.”

Duckworth has slipped to 120th in the rankings after reaching No.83 in June and is hoping his wildcard playoff win is the beginning of another move forward. “I didn’t play so well the last four months of the year so to come here and win a few matches, especially some tight ones, some tight tiebreakers, really helps the confidence a lot,” said the 23-year-old. “Hopefully I can use it as a bit of a springboard and start the year off well and have a good year.”

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