January 16, 2021

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Polansky, Schnur, Diez begin AO campaign in Doha

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A month away from the main event, three Canadian men are in the Australian Open qualifying draw in Doha.

As with the women in Dubai, the qualifying tournaments have been relocated to the Middle East, because of the postponement of the Grand Slam in Melbourne and the delay in having the players be able to enter the country.

Mischa Zverev, big brother of Alexander, has received a wild card into the qualifying.

None of the three Canadians in the draw – Steven Diez, Brayden Schnur and Peter Polansky, are seeded.

Here’s the draw.

Canadian draws

Polansky has winnable matches, although young Molleker comes in with a sterling junior resumé. But above him, the section that could have Nakashima vs. Gaston (intriguing matchup) will be tough to get through.

Brayden Schnur plays a steady customer in the first round in the No. 12 seed from india.

A tough little section of the draw for Diez, full of veteran talent.

As for Alejandro Tabilo, the Canadian who now represents Chile, he faces a top seed in No. 2 Hugo Dellien, but a player who’s more comfortable on clay.

Tabilo ended up having to miss the French Open qualifying because of an emergency for peritonitis. It was a serious thing.

Also in his section is promising young spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

Old favorites try to get through qualies

Yes, that’s Bernard Tomic, still within range of the qualifying with his ranking because of the freeze.

He’ll try to get through the hard way. And it won’t be easy.

As it happens, he’s in a section full of Aussies who needed wild cards to get into the qualifying.

But right off the jump, he faces a solid player in Kovalik who has come back from injury. Even if he progresses, he might have to beat Paolo Lorenzi.

Just turned 39 a few weeks ago, the Italian is the polar opposite to Tomic in the sense that he has been the ultimate, relentless grinder on the circuit – squeezing the absolutely maximum out of his ability and never taking a point off.

Gulbis still grinding

Ernests Gulbis, who qualified in Melbourne and then went on to shock Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime in the first round, is back to try it again.

Robin Haase, now 33 and down to No. 198 in the singles rankings, faces Thiago Seyboth-Wild in the first round.

Tommy Robredo, 38, also is in the draw.