Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub safely navigated the first round of the Australian
Open qualifiers on Wednesday, closing to within two victories of a place in the
main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
Sela, ranked No. 114
in the world and seeded No. 3 in the qualifying tournament in Melbourne,
advanced to the second round after just 42 minutes, with opponent Sergio
Gutierrez-Ferrol (178) retiring when trailing 6-1, 4-1.
Sela will play
Igor Kunitsyn (162) for a place in the third and final round of the qualifiers
Unlike Sela, Weintraub (196) was made to sweat for two hours
and 46 minutes by Wayne Odesnik (145) before progressing to the next round with
a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 victory.
Weintraub, who is hoping to reach the main
draw of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career, will face Radu
Albot (220) in the second round on Thursday.
Also Thursday, Israel’s
Julia Glushko (177) will play Mariana Dugue-Marino (144) in the first round of
the women’s qualifiers.
Elsewhere on the courts, top seed John Isner was
knocked out of the Sydney International by compatriot Ryan Harrison on Wednesday
but at least he got out on court on a day when injury withdrawals continued to
ravage Australian Open warm-up tournaments.
Second seed Gilles Simon
earlier pulled out before his last 16 match in Sydney with a neck injury, while
Kei Nishikori and world number nine Janko Tipsarevic became the second and third
players to quit the eight-man field at the Kooyong Classic.
World No. 13
Isner was hampered by the bone bruise to his right leg that ended his
participation in the Hopman Cup last week and the 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Harrison
left him thinking about pulling out of the Australian Open becasue of his latest
frustrating injury “It’s better. Definitely better than I thought, but it’s not
100 percent,” he told reporters. “I don’t know. I got a decision to make
“Certainly I could win a match maybe, a match or two. I don’t
see myself winning the whole tournament at this point, that’s for
Simon’s withdrawal followed those of compatriots Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, who pulled out because of a hamstring injury and for
“personal reasons,” respectively.
“The week before the slams, players
don’t want to take any risks, which is normal but sad also for this one because
Sydney is a very nice tournament and deserves to have a very nice draw,” 2011
Sydney champion Simon said.
“We just try the maximum to be ready... I
mean, for me today, there is no point in me going out and losing 6-2, 6-2
playing 50 percent.”
Reuters contributed to this report.