Denis Istomin (UZB) and Luksika Kumkhum (THA) will compete in the main draw of Australian Open 2017 after winning the AO Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off finals in Zhuhai, China.
Top seed Istomin, of Uzbekistan, beat second seed Duckhee Lee 7-5 6-1 to secure the coveted men’s wildcard, while Thailand’s Kumkhum overcame Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei 6-4 6-3 to cement her place in women’s main draw.
“For me, the Australian Open is a very special tournament for my career,” Istomin said.
“In 2006 I played my first Grand Slam match at Melbourne Park, and it was with Roger Federer. For the last nine years I have never missed to play in the main draw.
“I want to say thanks to Tennis Australia and China Tennis Association for organising this event, to offer such a great opportunity for the Asian players to get a chance to play at a Grand Slam.”
In the women’s final, Kumkhum said she was looking forward to returning to the Australian Open, a Grand Slam that feels like home for the 23-year-old.
“I’m very happy that I won today.” Kumkhum said.
“I actually have played in the Australian Open since (being a) junior. And I don’t know why, I really like playing there in Melbourne, and had some good results too.
“I feel like at home every time being there, not far from Bangkok, the weather and everything, I think if someone gets used to hot weather, they will like Melbourne too.”
Doubles events concluded in Zhuhai on Saturday, with Chinese Taipei duo Hseih Cheng Peng and Yang Tsung-Hua winning the men’s doubles wildcard, and Chan Chin Wei (TPE) and Junri Namigata (JPN) scoring the women’s doubles wildcard.
Junior titles were also determined over the weekend, with reigning wildcard champion Mu Tao (CHN) and 16-year-old Yuan Chengyiyi (CHN) securing positions in the boys’ and girls’ singles events at the Australian Open Junior Championships.
Australian Open 2017 Asia-Pacific Wildcard Winners
Men’s Singles – Denis ISTOMIN (UZB)
Women’s Singles – Luksika KUMKHUM (THA)
Boys Singles – MU Tao (CHN)
Girls Singles – YUAN Chengyiyi (CHN)
Men’s Doubles – HSEIH Cheng Peng (TPE) and YANG Tsung-Hua (TPE)