Bajan tennis sensation Darian King would have his eyes set on breaking into his second grand slam tournament in less than five months when he served up against hometown boy Marc Polmans in the first qualifying round of the Australian Open tonight.
Ranked 147 places above his opponent, King is expected to once again reach the second qualifying round just like in 2017.
However, the 25-year-old must not underestimate his South African-born Australian challenger who has a pretty decent record.
Polmans won the 2015 Australian Open – Boys’ Doubles title with fellow Australian Jake Delaney, defeating Hubert Hurkacz and Alex Molčan in the final, 0-6, 6-2, [10-8]. He reached the semi-final of the 2017 Australian Open – Men’s Doubles with Andrew Whittington.
The 20-year-old Polmans has a career-high ATP singles ranking of 183 achieved in May 2017. He also has a career-high ATP doubles ranking of 68 achieved on 16 October 2017 which means King will have a battle on his hands.
It was just back in August last year when King announced himself to the world tennis arena against all odds when he defeated Daniel Nguyen, Nicolas Jarry and Lukas Lacko in the qualifiers to create history by becoming the first ever Barbadian to feature in a grand slam let alone the US Open.
Darian went on to lose a hard-fought first-round encounter against world no. 4 Alexander “ Sascha” Zverev going down 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 in an entertaining ESPN primetime match at the famous Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
Having returned home from the US Open, King delivered when his country needed him the most, registering a comfortable 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and 6-3 victory against Venezuela number one seed Ricardo Rodriguez which levelled the Davis Cup Americas Zone ll round three tie against Venezuela 2-2 at the National Tennis Center with Barbados going on to win the match 3-2.
Two weeks ago, The International Tennis Federation (ITF) named the island’s top tennis ace as one of five most valuable players in its awards for last year’s Davis Cup campaign.
The top honour meant that King contributed tremendously to Barbados with respect to the sport of tennis, making it the second time it was rewarded with the first being in 2014 when Barbados got into Group 1 of the Davis Cup Competition thanks to the 25-year-old.
King who was undefeated in six singles helped the island to a total of eight major wins last year.
King versus Marc Polmans served off tonight and the action can be followed on https://ausopen.com/