Omar Jasika of Australia after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2016 Australian Open.
Omar Jasika of Australia after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2016 Australian Open. DAVID CROSLING

Young Aussies win wildcards to grand slam

TENNIS: Teenager Omar Jasika will make a return to the Australian Open after winning the wildcard playoff final in Melbourne.

Jasika, 19, who reached the second round on his debut earlier this year, earned a point penalty for smashing his racquet on the ground after losing the first set in a tie-break but fought back strongly to defeat Queenslander John-Patrick Smith 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 6-0 6-4.

In the women's event, Jaimee Fourlis will make her grand slam debut after defeating Abbie Myers 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 in the final.

Jasika said fighting back from two sets and a break down to Marinko Matosevic in the first round of the wildcard playoffs had given him belief.

"In my head I was thinking I'd lost,” he said.

"I found a way to win that and got better and better. It gave me confidence.”

Fourlis, 17, who like Jasika hails from Melbourne, said she was gobsmacked to have won the wildcard.

"It is an incredible feeling. I don't know how to describe it,” she said.

"I don't really care (who I draw).

"It'll be an amazing feeling playing in front of a home crowd. I wouldn't mind drawing an Aussie because then it'd be even. It'll be awesome no matter what.”


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