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Aussies At Wimbledon: Barton And Saville Join Confident Kyrgios

Previewing the Aussies qualifying for the main draw of Wimbledon 2016
Susan Mullane : USA Today

Aussies Luke Saville and Matthew Barton have each put together three solid qualifying wins to earn themselves a place in this year's main draw at Wimbledon.

After bundling out rising star and top seed Karen Khachanov in four sets, 7-6(1) 6-7(1) 6-2 6-3, Sydney's Matthew Barton now finds himself in uncharted territory, on the precipice of competing in his first ever Grand Slam.

It was an emotional victory for the 24-year-old, formerly ranked as high as world No.201 (in 2013) before being hampered by a torrid run with injury.


"I just can't believe I won," he told after the biggest win of his career. "So yeah, over the moon."

Competing in his first official five-set match, it was a well-deserved outcome for Barton, who has proven himself to be a dangerous entity when he's on song, his powerful game propelling him to wins over the likes of American world No.38 Steve Johnson earlier this year.

Barton won't be dismissed lightly by Albano Olivetti, the French qualifier who he meets in the first round, and he has every chance of continuing his dream run.

For Saville, his come-from-behind 6-4 3-6 2-6 7-6(1) 6-4 win over German Mathias Bachinger sees him take his place in the 128-man draw for the third year running – and gives him an unblemished 9-0 record in Wimbledon qualifying.

Requiring five sets to seal the deal in the 2014 and 2015 final rounds as well – including saving match points – Saville realises the fine line he's been traversing.

"I could have lost the last couple of years," he said. "But I think I'm really playing well in the depth of these matches.

"Obviously, the cherry on top is to qualify for Wimby again. It's a dream come true."

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The hallowed turf of SW19 has proven successful for the 22-year-old South Australian, who won the junior title in 2011 and also toppled this year's No.8 seed Dominic Thiem in the 2014 opening round.

This year, like Barton, he will take on a fellow qualifier in his first-up encounter, American Dennis Novikov.

With Saville and Barton entering the fray, there will now be seven Australian men in singles action. They will be led by a confident Nick Kyrgios who – despite a tricky draw which sees him on a fourth-round collision course with Andy Murray – said after an eye-catching exhibition match at The Boodles that he can "push to almost win it".

Kyrgios first takes on veteran Czech Radek Stepanek with other notable Aussie match-ups including Jordan Thompson playing No.14 seed Roberto Bautista Agut and Bernard Tomic up against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

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