Darian King is only two wins away from featuring in his second grand slam tournament after last night’s victory over homeboy Marc Polmans in the first round of qualifying matches at the Australian Open.
Playing on Court 12 in Melbourne Park, Down Under, the Bajan tennis ace took the game in straight sets 6-2, 7-6(3).
Although he convincingly took the first set, King wasted a total of five match-points and had to fight with the second set being more competitive.
It looked like a normal day at the office for the 25-year-old who appeared to be easing into the next round when he went up a set and a break and then let Polmans right back into it. However, in the end, King came out on top.
Polmans who reached the semifinals of the Australian Open doubles with Andrew Whittington last year once again failed to reach the first round of a major tournament in the singles department with 2015 being the closest he ever came when he went out in the second qualifying round.
However, for Barbados’ top tennis player, the triumph means that he will once again play in the second round of qualifiers tonight setting up a date with Russian-born Alexander Bublik who is ranked no.95 as of September 2017 and represents Kazakhstan.
Like Darian, Bublik who is 20 years old gained entry into round two after beating Portuguese international Goncalo Oliveira 6-3,1-6, 6-3 on court 13.
Bublik has a career-high ranking of no. 19, and has won five ITF singles titles and three ITF doubles titles.
He made his ATP main draw debut at the 2016 St Petersburg Open where he received wildcards into the singles and doubles main draw.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY after his first round win, King said he was grateful for the victory as he was struggling to cope with the extremely heated conditions in Australia.
“I feel great definitely to get the win over Marc Polmans, he is one of the youngsters working with former number 1 Lleyton Hewitt, so I think it’s a great achievement, [I am] really happy to get through that match, especially the condition I am in,” he said.
King added that moving forward in the competition the main focus was to make sure he was completely fit to compete at the highness level.
“I am really focused on getting better. At the moment I think I am playing decent tennis but taking care of myself is the main objective, so I can compete out there against these guys.”
Ahead of tonight’s match-up which is scheduled to serve off at 11 p.m. eastern, King stated: “Bublik is a very good player, he is experienced no doubt, he has played on slams before. It is not going to be an easy task for either of us but tennis is played on the day. I think it boils down to who executes their strategy the best.
Yes, last time I lost around this time against a tough opponent, but it is a new year so I am just trying to take it one match at a time.”