They may be almost 20 years apart, but 36-year-old German Dustin Brown and 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain are both on the cusp of qualifying for the 2021 Australian Open. The qualifying competition is being staged this year in Doha due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brown, who is bidding to compete in the main draw for the first time in three years, struck eight aces and won 80 per cent of his first-service points to beat Spanish No. 22 seed Carlos Taberner 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday. He will next play American Maxime Cressy, who fired 21 aces to overcome Yannick Maden of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Alcaraz, who is already a winner of three ATP Challenger Tour titles, bounced back from a slow start in both sets to beat Russia’s Evgeny Karlovskiy 7-6(1), 7-6(4). He will next face second-seeded Bolivian Hugo Dellien, who beat Andrew Harris of Australia 6-4, 7-6(6).
Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, 36, who last played in the main draw in 2016, recovered from 1-5 down in the first set to beat Jason Kubler of Australia 7-6(4), 6-4 and now plays another Australian, Dane Sweeny, in the final qualifying round on Wednesday.
Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, a month shy of his 35th birthday, knocked out American Ulises Blanch 7-5, 6-3. The Serbian, who reached the third round of the Australian Open in 2011 and 2015-17, will next face German No. 11 seed Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who defeated Rinky Hijikata of Australia 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, former World No. 17 Bernard Tomic saved one match point at 4-5, 30/40 in the deciding set to edge past Tristan Schoolkate in a final 10-point tie-break, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(3). He will next challenge his fellow Australian, John-Patrick Smith, who beat Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Former World No. 23 Damir Dzumhur, who competed in the main draw third round in 2014 and 2018, defeated Julian Lenz of Germany 6-2, 6-2 and the seventh seed from Bosnia and Herzegovina now meets Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium.
Fifth-seeded Japanese Taro Daniel was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Maximilian Marterer of Germany and now plays Sweden’s Elias Ymer, who defeated No. 27 seed Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Dutchman Robin Haase also overcame Gian Marco Moroni of Italy 6-4, 7-5 and now plays France’s Quentin Halys in the qualifying round.
Meanwhile, American Michael Mmoh saved two match points at 4-5 in the third set to scrape past Zhe Li of China 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(7) and he now prepares to face France’s Arthur Rinderknech.