Frances Tiafoe faces Juan Martin Del Potro
Denis Kudla qualifies for main draw
Treat Huey goes for doubles glory in Melbourne
Andrew Fenty, William Woodall, and Brandon Perez play in the Juniors
Frances Tiafoe plays world #12 Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro in the opening round of the 2018 Australian Open on Tuesday (Monday night on the East Coast). Tune in to watch the match live streamed on WatchESPN.
The 19-year-old is appearing in the main draw for the second time in Melbourne where he recorded his first Grand Slam victory 12 months ago when he defeated Mikhail Kukuskin of Kazakhstan.
The JTCC alumnus is coming off an excellent 2017 that saw him reach a career high #60 in the ATP world rankings and cause a stir with his performances against some of the game’s biggest names. These included his first top 10 win over German Alexander Zverev at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati and pushing 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer to a fifth set in New York at the US Open.
Tiafoe and Del Potro have met once before in February 2017 at the ATP World 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico when the 2009 US Open champion narrowly prevailed in a final set tiebreak 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1).
Denis Kudla joins Tiafoe in the main draw after battling through three rounds of qualifying in Melbourne Park. During his run, Kudla defeated two seeds: #7 Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain in the first round and #20 Matteo Berrettini of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to secure his spot in the field for the first Grand Slam of the year.
The 25-year-old will make his fifth Australian Open appearance when he takes on world #46 Steve Johnson in the first round on Tuesday. The two Americans meet for the second time at ATP World Tour level. Johnson won their first clash back in 2014 at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, TX.
Doubles specialist Treat Huey and Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner are playing together for the first time and begin their campaign for the Australian Open championship against #15 seeds Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Marcin Matkowski of Poland. Huey, who is a two-time Australian Open doubles quarterfinalist, has set his sights in 2018 on returning to the top 20 of the ATP world doubles rankings which he achieved in 2016 when he reached the Wimbledon semifinals and qualified for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with Belarusian partner Max Mirnyi. The JTCC and UVA alumnus will be making his seventh appearance in Melbourne.
Tiafoe joins Huey in the doubles draw as he teams up with Donald Young. The all-American team play against #5 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the first round. The British and Brazilian duo won the Australian Open crown in 2016.
Three JTCC standout juniors will represent JTCC in the Boys’ singles and doubles draws during the second week at Melbourne Park. Andrew Fenty, who is ranked #13 in the ITF junior world rankings, will be seeded for the first time at the Junior Grand Slam, while William Woodall and Brandon Perez will have the opportunity to gain valuable ranking points as they make their debuts on the biggest junior stage at a Grand Slam.
Fenty will attempt to build on his superb progress during 2017. The 17-year-old played in three Junior Grand Slams at the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open as he climbed in the rankings. This move was highlighted by his biggest singles title to date when he won the Pan American ITF Championships in Tulsa, OK in October.
Woodall is also 17 and makes his Grand Slam debut in Australia. He will partner Fenty in the doubles where the two have enjoyed previous success together reaching back-to-back finals in Mexico in November at the XXXI Yucatan Cup ITF Grade 1 and the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano ITF Grade A.
Venezuelan Perez arrives in Australia with some good early season form thanks to a run to the doubles finals at the New Delhi Grade 2 ITF. The 17-year-old also reached a Grade 1 final with Fenty in 2017 as the two fought their way through to the championship match at the City of Wels Junior Grand Prix in Austria.
“Everyone at JTCC is excited to follow the progress of Frances, Denis, Treat, Andrew, William, and Brandon in Melbourne,” said Vesa Ponkka, JTCC Senior Director of Tennis, who has had a key role in the development of all six players. “They are all in excellent form and are well prepared to achieve success at the Australian Open.”