Blog: Young guns shine at Australian Open

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Casey Dellacqua was outclassed by 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard last night, but that’s no embarrassment.

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Bouchard is one of the true rising stars of world tennis and far better players than Dellacqua will succumb to the Canadian in the next few years.

Dellacqua’s ranking will rise from 120 to about 80 thanks to her best effort at her home Grand Slam since 2008, where she also reached the fourth round. For someone who was increasingly thought of as a doubles player only, thanks to her burgeoning partnership with indigenous star Ashleigh Barty, that’s a real feather in the cap.

Elsewhere there’s plenty to be optimistic about. Sam Stosur looked good in the first two rounds and we now know her loss to Ana Ivanovic was no choke – the Serbian then dumped world number one Serena Williams out of the tournament a few days later.

Barty herself played Williams first up and despite a straight sets loss, didn’t look out of place on centre court.

In the men’s draw, it’s a multicultural batch of youngsters who are capturing the imagination. Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios, both of Greek heritage, had fantastic wins in the opening round, particularly Kyrgios, who defeated Benjamin Becker in four tough sets which showcased the 18-year-old’s precocious talent.

Kokkinakis defeated Igor Sujsling in round one before earning rave reviews from his second round opponent – the exulted figure of Rafael Nadal.

Tennis commentator Craig Gabriel has equally high praise for the duo.

 “We’ve just seen the future of Australian men’s tennis, and it’s so exciting,” he says.

“The way they’ve played and carried themselves on court is very exciting and encouraging. At this age, the experience these guys have been handed, you can’t buy that. I know these kids are like sponges, they’re just soaking everything up, and that can only be a benefit to them in the future.”

“If these guys can just keep their heads about them and keep that desire, that determination and excitement, they’ll go very far.”

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