Top seed James Duckworth will do battle with good mate Ben Mitchell in Sunday’s Australian Open wildcard play-off final.
Mitchell, the fourth seed, was the first player through to the final on Friday when he defeated South Australian Bradley Mousley in four sets, 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4, with Duckworth progressing after a hard-fought 4-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) win over seventh seed Marinko Matosevic.
“It was the first time I’ve beat him and I’m happy to get the win,” Duckworth said on Friday.
“I felt pretty good physically even with it being such a hot day. I felt alright so if it went to a fifth set I wasn’t feeling bad so I could have kept going.”
Duckworth and Mitchell are firm friends having grown up together and are even sharing the same accommodation in Melbourne.
“If I was to lose to anyone this week I’d love it to be Ben,” Duckworth said.
“I’d love for him to win the tournament as well. Either way I’ll be happy.”
Mitchell cramped up badly at the end of his match, which was played through the main heat of the day but he said it wasn’t a major issue and he was ready to go all out in the final.
“I’m going to be the underdog on Sunday,” Mitchell said.
“I’ll prepare the best I can but I’m going to go out there with nothing to lose.
“There’s a wildcard on the line but I’ve had a great end to the year so I’ll just give it my all and the pressure is going to be on (him).”
In semi-final action in the women’s draw, second seed Arina Rodionova will face sixth seed Storm Sanders in the first match on Saturday and Maddison Inglis will play Queenslander Naiktha Bains.
The female and male final winners will receive a wildcard entry into the main draw of the 2016 Australian Open, starting on January 18.