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Smith, Hensel Pick Up Wins in Wildcard Playoff
Kaden Hensel

Kaden Hensel

Dec. 15, 2009

Tennessee junior John-Patrick Smith and former Vol Kaden Hensel rebounded Tuesday with second-round wins in the Australian Open wildcard playoffs at Melbourne Park.

Smith picked up a straight-set victory, defeating Kris Balakrishnan 6-3, 6-4. Hensel, who lettered for the Vols from 2005-08, upset top-seeded Brydan Klein 6-4, 6-4.

The tournament features 16 players from Australia competing for one wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Open in January. The players have been divided into four groups for three days of round-robin play, and the top two from each group advance to the quarterfinals. Hensel, currently No. 466 in the ATP rankings, is the seventh-seeded player in the field.

Hensel enjoyed a successful run in November on the ATP Challenger Tour, picking up wins over top-100 opponents in his last two tournaments on U.S. soil. He defeated No. 90 Kevin Kim in the first round of the Knoxville Challenger. He followed that with an upset of No. 78 Rajeev Ram at the Champaign Challenger to improve his singles ranking to a career-best to No. 435.

In Monday’s first round, Smith lost 6-3, 6-2 to fourth-seeded Bernard Tomic, who has won two junior grand slam events this year. Hensel dropped a three-set match 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to Jason Kubler.

Smith and Hensel play their final round-robin match Wednesday in Australia. Smith faces sixth-seeded Matthew Ebden, and Hensel plays James Duckworth. While their matches will not be on the main court, a free live broadcast and scoring updates will be available here. Smith and Hensel will start their matches at approximately 8 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.


 

 

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