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Radu Albot defeats Yosuke Watanuki on Wednesday in Melbourne.

Albot Reaches Final Qualifying Round In Melbourne

Kukushkin and Sousa also advance

Radu Albot reached the third round at the Australian Open last year and maintained his strong record in Melbourne on Wednesday, downing Yosuke Watanuki 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 to advance to the third qualifying round at the first major of the season.

The former World No. 39 broke five times to secure victory in one hour and 41 minutes as he moved to within one win of the Australian Open main draw.

The fifth seed will next face Portugal’s Joao Sousa after the World No. 140 edged Australian Marc Polmans 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 in one hour and 59 minutes. The 32-year-old, who has reached the third round in Melbourne three times (2015, 2016, 2019), fired seven aces to advance.

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Mikhail Kukushkin secured his spot in the final qualifying round, defeating Dutchman Robin Haase 7-5, 7-6(2) after one hour and 47 minutes. The former World No. 39 is aiming to make his 12th main draw appearance at the Australian Open.

The 34-year-old next plays Ernesto Escobedo following the American’s 7-6(3), 6-4 win against Andrea Vavassori.

Alejandro Tabilo, who played for Chile at ATP Cup last week, hit eight aces en route to his 77-minute 6-1, 7-5 victory against World No. 227 Constant Lestienne. The 24-year-old will meet Elias Ymer next after the Swede clawed past Mario Vilella Martinez 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0) in two hours and 26 minutes.

In other action, Dimitry Popko saw off Philip Sekulic 6-4, 6-2, Thomas Fabbiano beat Frederico Ferreira Silva 6-2, 7-5 and Tomas Barrios Vera moved past Thiago Agustin Tirante 6-4, 7-6(1).

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