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Qualifying: Harrison keeps good form going

UPDATE 3.30pm: Ryan Harrison has won his second straight match in qualifying, while fellow Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Victoria Duval secure their places in the main draw on the women’s side.
5 January 2014, by Peter Collison

UPDATE: Rising star Ryan Harrison demonstrated why he is considered a future top 10 player with a comfortable straight sets victory over Stephane Robert in men’s qualifying action at Apia International Sydney 2014.

Harrison dominated the second-round match, closing out the match 6-3 6-2 with some huge serving, and stands just one win away from the main draw in Sydney.

The young American credits his hard work in the off-season as one of the reasons he is playing well.

“The first three weeks it was just a whole lot of cardio … I also worked a lot of efficiency of movement and it seems to be paying off,” he said.

Harrison is keen to extend his stay at the Apia International, describing Sydney as “one of the incredible cities in the world”.

“It is a favourite of mine to come to,” he revealed.

Harrison will next face Alex Bogomolov Jr in the final round of qualifying.

> check out the men’s qualifying draw

Another rising star, Jiri Vesely, won a battle of the young guns when he saw off the challenge of Australian teen Jordan Thompson.

Vesely, of Czech Republic, recovered from the loss of the opening set to beat Thompson 6-7(4) 6-3 6-1, and moves one match away from the main draw in Sydney.

Mattek-Sands, Duval progress to main draw

Harrison’s compatriots Bethanie-Mattek-Sands and Victoria Duval also enjoyed wins on Sunday, securing their place in the main draw of the tournament.

Mattek-Sands advanced after opponent Julia Goerges retired with an ankle injury in the final round of qualifying.

Her form has looked omnious all week after coming out of a tough quarter, beating Luksika Kumkhum, Heather Watson and now Goerges who withdrew when trailing 3-2 in the first set.

The American knows a thing or two about injuries herself after returning to the tour for the first time in nearly four months from a knee injury.

“I’m glad to be back, I feel like I am playing great,” she said after securing her main draw berth.

Meanwhile, young gun Victoria Duval was forced to work harder for her place in the main draw, with a final round victory over American compatriot and former top 20 player Varvara Lepchenko, 7-5 7-5.

Duval, who gained fame with a big win over Australian Sam Stosur at the US Open last year, hopes this result is indicative of a big year ahead.

“I’m excited, this is the second time I have qualified in the WTA so it’s a good feeling for me,” she said.

Keep checking back as we bring you more updates from women’s and men’s qualifying action on Sunday at Apia International Sydney 2014.