Louk Sorensen became the first Irishman to win a grand slam match in 25 years today when he defeated Yen-Hsun Lu in the first-round of the Australian Open.
Sorensen reached the main draw of a major for the first time in qualifying last week and continued his dream run in Melbourne by beating a player ranked almost 200 places higher 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-1.
Ireland had not produced a player that had won a match at a grand slam since the Californian-born Matt Doyle won through to the round of 32 at the 1985 Australian Open.
But Sorensen, ranked 287 in the world, defied the odds to bring that record to an end.
The 25-year-old's match had been postponed after yesterday's rain with the players assigned to arguably the least glamorous court at the Melbourne Park complex - Court 14 where the shunting trams just metres away are more audible than the cheers from the other courts.
Regardless, the court will long live in the memory of Sorensen who, with only five players ranked below than him in the whole main draw, was expected to come unstuck against world number 101 Lu. But the Irishman, whose father Sean coaches the Davis Cup team, showed his gritty resolve early as he broke in the opening set which he took out, with his third set point, by firing a forehand down the line.
There was little between the players and when Lu levelled the match at one set apiece the contest had already lasted more than an hour and a half.
But from there Sorensen took control as he raced through the next two sets in an hour to claim his historic win.
Meanwhile top-ranked Roger Federer had some anxious moments in his first-round match at the Australian Open today before fending off dangerous Russian Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-0.
Federer was up a service break in the first set before Andreev broke back twice.
The Swiss star then had to save three set points against Andreev's serve in the 12th game of third set before forcing and then winning a tiebreaker.
He dominated the fourth, ensuring there was no similar end to
his previous match on Rod Laver Arena — he finished in tears last year after losing the final to Rafael Nadal.
“I hoped I was going to hang in there, that he was going to get tired. It was a tough first round. I'm really, really relieved,” Federer said.
“I think I definitely got lucky to get out of that one.
“It was a fortunate third set today.”
Federer hasn't lost the opening round since the 2003 French Open, the event before he won Wimbledon for the first of his 15 Grand Slam singles titles.
“I prefer easier matches, but this worked as well. Now I move on to the next round which I’m pleased about.”