LIMERICK’S Conor Niland is just one game away from qualifying for his second successive tennis grand slam event, winning his second round match at the US Open qualifiers in New York last night.
Niland defeated Taiwanese right hander Yang Tsung-hua in straight sets to leave himself just one win away from the first round
draw of the US Open event proper next week.
Niland will now face Dutchman Matwe Middelkoop in the final round of qualifying. The match is due on court not before 11.30am Friday, which is local time in New York. While Middelkoop is ranked at 258 in the world, he previously defeated Italy’s Matteo Viola - ranked at 178 - in straight sets.
The 196 ranked Niland, who became the first Irish man in decades to qualify for Wimbledon in June of this year, overcame Slovakian right-hander Pavol Cervenak in some style in his first round, winning 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour.
This is Niland’s third attempt at qualifying for the US Open, having gone close in previous years, winning first round matches but losing at the next stage, and he was optimistic of success at Flushing Meadows, explaining that the hard court surface was one he favoured.
“I like the courts because that is what I played on in college, that surface and those conditions, so it is one of my favourite tournaments,” he told the Limerick Leader last week before flying out to New York.
“It is the surface that I train on, so that is why I am more comfortable on it. The court is a medium paced court, you can play any kind of a game style, I like to be aggressive from the baseline and they suit that kind of a game. I can rally, hit a lot of groundstrokes, construct the point from the baseline, whereas sometimes if the court is too fast or slow it can kind of work against me, I like a medium paced court, that is where my best results come from.
He added: “I feel like I am good enough to qualify, obviously you never know - at Wimbledon I was down match point in the first round of qualifying, so I know that it is a bit of a lottery”.