BRISBANE – Unheralded Sydney teenager James Duckworth instantly achieved what big-name cohort Bernard Tomic couldn’t in three attempts – win at the Brisbane International.
Duckworth yesterday enjoyed an ATP debut to remember by upsetting world No.80 and Wimbledon marathon man Nicholas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 at Pat Rafter Arena.
Unlike Queenslander Tomic, who failed to cash in on all three wildcards to his home tournament, the 19-year-old made the most of his ”last-minute” entry by showing the composure of a veteran to triumph in 71 minutes.
It was a victory vigorously applauded by fans used to seeing locals bundled out early in Brisbane; he became the third Australian male, behind Matt Ebden and Carsten Ball, to taste first-round success in 17 editions.
While world No.42 Tomic is seeded eighth this week and is the nation’s great men’s tennis hope, Duckworth has career earnings totalling just $31,000 and had to overcome a lingering knee problem by training for the past 10 months solely on clay.
In that time, he slashed his world ranking from 742 to 275 on the challenger circuit and capped 2011 by making the final of the Australian Open wildcard playoffs before losing to Marinko Matosevic.
But Duckworth has no qualms with living in the shadow of Tomic, who also meets a Frenchman, Julien Benneteau, in the first round today.
”I guess he’s kind of kicked on a bit earlier than a few of us, but it’s something to work towards,” Duckworth said.
”He’s a great player, and a lot of us are working hard each day to get to where he is.”
A nervous Duckworth certainly had to work hard when he found himself ”down 3-0 in 10 seconds” against Mahut.
He overwhelmed the Frenchman in all facets and also kept his cool when broken midway through the second set.
Knowing full well Mahut, a former top-40 player, played in the record 11-hour, five-setter against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, Duckworth was overjoyed to shut him out quickly.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.