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Young talents gain Aussie Open wildcards

Exciting young trio Alexei Popyrin, Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt have claimed the final three wildcards into the Australian Open men's singles draw.

Young talents gain Aussie Open wildcards

Exciting young trio Alexei Popyrin, Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt have claimed the final three wildcards into the Australian Open men's singles draw.

Emerging talents Alexei Popyrin, Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt have been awarded the final three wildcards into the Australian Open men's singles draw.

Popyrin, 19, has climbed to No.147 in the world 18 months after announcing his arrival as the French Open junior champion in Paris.


Polmans, 21, and Bolt, 25, have also entrenched themselves in the top 170 after solid 2018 seasons.

Popyrin, though, is considered something special.

Raised in Europe, the teenager was ranked No.621 in the first week of 2018 yet cracked the world's 150 by year's end, helped by his maiden ATP Challenger title win in China in August.

The tall, powerful Sydneysider compiled a 46-26 win-loss record for the season, closing in style by successfully qualifying for the main draw events in Stockholm and Roger Federer's home-city event in Basel.

In Basel, Popyrin claimed a top-40 win over countryman Matt Ebden in the first round before stretching world No.4 Alexander Zverev in the last 16.

Polmans also enjoyed a career-best season, jumping from No.318 in the rankings at the end of 2017 to 144th.

He collected four titles in 12 months, including the biggest of his career at the Launceston Challenger, and began the season by going on a tear on the Australian Pro Tour, winning 24 straight matches throughout February and March.

He used that form and confidence as a springboard, later reaching ATP Challenger finals in Tallahassee and Stockton and peaking at a career-high ranking of No.137 in October.

Bolt upset fellow South Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis to qualify for Wimbledon last year, one of several highlights in a season during which he improved his ranking from No.246 in February to a career-high mark of No.139 in October.

He also won the Zhuhai Challenger title and reached the final in California and qualified for the main draw at ATP events in 's-Hertogenbosch, Newport, Atlanta and Washington DC.

Popyrin, Polmans and Bolt will boost Australia's representation in the Australian Open men's singles main draw to 11.

Alex De Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Matt Ebden, Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic received direct entry into the field, while wildcards were earlier awarded to Jason Kubler and James Duckworth.

AAP


AAP




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