Home stars shine on court in Brisbane
AUSTRALIA Day is not for another 20 days.
But two of the country's tennis young guns, James Duckworth and Thanasi Kokkinakis, posted career-best results within hours of each other at the Brisbane International on a day of major upsets.
Jarmila Gjadosova then made it a hat-trick by downing China's Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-1 to earn a second-round match-up against No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic .
Two years ago as a wildcard at the Australian Open, Duckworth won a legion of fans after battling a foot injury, cramps, and 40c heat before losing a second round, five-hour marathon to Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 10-8 in the fifth set. Kavcic had to be hooked up to an IV drip in the locker room afterwards.
Amazingly, Duckworth had played a four-hour, five setter the previous day, beating good friend and fellow Aussie Ben Mitchell.
This time the 22 year-old Sydneysider, again playing as a wildcard, took just 67 minutes to dispose of tournament sixth seed and world No.21 Gillies Simon 6-2 6-2 in his first round match.
Playing aggressively, Duckworth made Simon commit countless unforced errors before posting the best victory of his career.
Adelaide teenager Kokkinakis made it a double celebration for Australia's youth brigade, bundling out the tournament's eighth seed, Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-3 in 74 minutes.
Benneteau took a medical time out in the first set and seemed to be struggling with a hip injury.