WINNER: Australia’s James Duckworth plays a shot during his first round win over Gilles Simon.
WINNER: Australia’s James Duckworth plays a shot during his first round win over Gilles Simon. DAN PELEDAAP

Home stars shine on court in Brisbane

AUSTRALIA Day is not for another 20 days.

But two of the country's tennis young guns, James Duckworth and Thanasi Kokkinakis, posted career-best results within hours of each other at the Brisbane International on a day of major upsets.

Jarmila Gjadosova then made it a hat-trick by downing China's Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-1 to earn a second-round match-up against No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic .

Two years ago as a wildcard at the Australian Open, Duckworth won a legion of fans after battling a foot injury, cramps, and 40c heat before losing a second round, five-hour marathon to Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 10-8 in the fifth set. Kavcic had to be hooked up to an IV drip in the locker room afterwards.

Amazingly, Duckworth had played a four-hour, five setter the previous day, beating good friend and fellow Aussie Ben Mitchell.

This time the 22 year-old Sydneysider, again playing as a wildcard, took just 67 minutes to dispose of tournament sixth seed and world No.21 Gillies Simon 6-2 6-2 in his first round match.

Playing aggressively, Duckworth made Simon commit countless unforced errors before posting the best victory of his career.

Adelaide teenager Kokkinakis made it a double celebration for Australia's youth brigade, bundling out the tournament's eighth seed, Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-3 in 74 minutes.

Benneteau took a medical time out in the first set and seemed to be struggling with a hip injury.


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