For the fourth time in his career and the first time since 2015, James Duckworth has won his opening-round match at the Australian Open.
James Duckworth is through to the Australian Open second round for the first time in six years.
The 29-year-old matched his career-best result at the tournament with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur at Court 7 today.
It was a confident and aggressive display from Duckworth, who dominated on serve and enjoyed great success at the net. The world No.105 claimed victory after one hour and 40 minutes on court.
“It was a tricky match. I didn’t start very well. I got broken my first two service games. But then I sorted of found a bit more of a rhythm as the match went on,” Duckworth said.
“(I) started playing a bit better throughout that second set and was able to get a break in the third and hold on. Probably not my best match, but happy to be through.”
The victory highlights perseverance is finally paying off for Duckworth, who has undergone eight surgeries on foot, shoulder and elbow injuries since February 2017.
“I definitely appreciate being healthy, playing these events and winning matches like these a lot more after going through those rough periods,” Duckworth said.
Never losing sights of his dreams, Duckworth achieved a career-high ranking of No.71 last year and was rewarded with a Davis Cup debut. But he’s struggled to produce his best on the Grand Slam stage.
Today’s victory snaps an eight-match losing streak in the first round of major tournaments that stretches back to the US Open in 2016. Duckworth, whose grandmother Beryl Penrose won this tournament in 1955, last won an Australian Open main draw singles match in 2015.
“I’m just really happy with how far I’ve come throughout all the injuries that I’ve been through and just the way the ball is coming off my racquet right now,” Duckworth said. “I probably haven’t hit the ball this well for five years, so I’m really happy and confident in myself right now. Hopefully I can win a few more matches.”
His next challenge is trying to advance to the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Standing in his way is 20th-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Duckworth was one of five Australian winners today, with Nick Kyrgios, Alex Bolt, Bernard Tomic and Ajla Tomljanovic also advancing to the second round.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2021
Aussies in action – day one results
Men’s singles, first round
James Duckworth (AUS) d [LL] Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 6-2 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS)d [Q] Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 6-4 6-4 6-4
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) d Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 6-2 4-6 6-3
[Q] Bernard Tomic (AUS) d Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 3-6 6-1 4-1 ret.
Corentin Moutet (FRA) d John Millman (AUS) 6-4 6-7(4) 3-6 6-2 6-3
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) d [WC] Marc Polmans (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-7(3) 6-3
Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
 Simona Halep (ROU) d [WC] Lizette Cabrera 6-2 6-1
[Q] Rebecca Marino (CAN) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-0 7-6(9)
Australian Open 2021 tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.