Sunday, December 16, 2018

Aussie scores emotional win; Quan gains junior semis

James Duckworth winds up on a forehand during
his 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) victory over fellow Aus-
tralian Alexei Popyrin, 19, in the second round of
the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in Sep-
tember. Duckworth escaped six match points.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   After shaking hands with the chair umpire, James Duckworth sat down, put his head in his hands for an extended period and rubbed his eyes.
   Duckworth, 26, had just defeated fellow Aussie Luke Saville 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) today in Melbourne to earn a wild card in next month's Australian Open.
   Duckworth, a semifinalist in the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger last September, underwent five operations from February 2017 to February this year. The 6-foot (1.83-meter) right-hander had three surgeries on his right foot, one on his right shoulder and one on his right elbow.
   Duckworth, ranked No. 243 after attaining a career-high No. 82 in 2015, earned his seventh main-draw berth in the Australian Open. He reached the second round in Melbourne in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
   Saville won the junior singles title at Wimbledon in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2012, and won this year's Tiburon doubles crown with Hans Hach Verdugo of Mexico. Saville and Hach Verdugo were qualifiers playing in their first tournament together.
   Kimberly Birrell capped her own injury comeback with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over fellow Aussie Astra Sharma to earn her second Grand Slam appearance.
   Birrell, 20, had elbow surgery two years ago and tumbled out of the world's top 1,000. She lost to Modesto product Maria Sanchez in the first round of the inaugural $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger in July.
   Sharma played No. 1 singles on the Vanderbilt team that lost to Stanford in the NCAA final in May.
   Whitney Osuigwe, a 16-year-old American who reached the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger in October, received a reciprocal wild card in the Australian Open.
   Osuigwe (pronounced Oh-SIG-way), who last year became the first American to win the French Open girls singles title since Jennifer Capriati in 1989, will make her second appearance in the women's main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.
   Osuigwe earned a wild card in this year's U.S. Open by winning the national girls 18 title and lost to Italy's Camila Giorgi, ranked 40th at the time and 26th now, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Jan. 13-27.
   Junior Orange Bowl -- Top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento region blitzed ninth-seeded Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables, Fla.
   Quan has not lost more than three games in a set in his five matches in the clay-court tournament. He also blanked Matthew Yang of Canada in the third round.
   Quan is scheduled to play Croatia's Antonio Voljavec, the third seed who dismissed fifth-seeded Quang Dong of the United States 6-3, 6-3.

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