First Irish player in senior tennis Grand Slam since 1985
Ireland will have a player in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since 1985 after national number one Louk Sorensen qualified for the Australian Open overnight in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old beat New Zealander Daniel King-Turner 6-4, 7-6 (3), to become the first Irishman to gain entry into a Grand Slam singles draw since Matt Doyle played in the 1985 Australian Open.
Louk will be following in his father Sean’s footsteps – the current Irish Davis Cup captain also played in a Grand Slam event when he went down to the great Rod Laver at the 1977 Wimbledon Championships.
Sorensen started his final qualifying match strongly, breaking his opponent in the third game. He held serve for the remainder of that set, taking it 6-4.
He twice served for the match in the second set at 5-4 and 6-5 but a dogged King-Turner fought back each time to force a tie-break which Sorensen comfortably claimed 7-3 to secure inclusion in the 128-strong men’s singles championship which begins on Monday.
There was heartache, however, for Sorensen’s compatriot Conor Niland.
The 29-year-old Limerick man went agonisingly close to joining his Davis Cup teammate in the main draw only to go down in three sets – 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 – to Brazilian Ricardo Hocevar.
Niland had been in a commanding position having won the first set and held a 4-3 lead with break of serve in the second set, but Hocevar dug deep and prevailed to deny Niland.