By Rick Limpert/Special to the BB&T Atlanta Open
It may not have been the fourth round of Wimbledon, but Denis Kudla continued his high level of play this summer by defeating former top-40 Australian, Marinko Matosevic, in the BB&T Atlanta Open final round of qualifying on Monday at Atlantic Station.
Kudla’s 7-5 6-2 victory over the unpredictable Australian puts him in the main draw of the ATP World Tour event and gives him a chance to improve on his world ranking on No. 94.
The 22-year old from Maryland by way of Ukraine has had a busy summer. He won a Challenger event, reached the finals of another and then had his best ever Grand Slam result.
Confidence is definitely through the roof," explained Kudla. "I almost had a perfect grass court season. Final of a challenger, I won a challenger coming in. Now pretty much my best Grand Slam result, and I couldn't be any happier right now. Riding the wave and hopefully I can push it further”
Kudla’s serve is certainly one of the reasons for his success. He pounded out 10 aces against the talented Matosevic, and that should be a good sign for the American on the hardcourts this summer. That, along with a new coach and an improved mental state of mind is helping the talented right-hander close out matches against other talented players.
“I’m happy with where I am right now and I feel I’m ready to make even a bigger move (up the rankings.”
That may start right here at the BB&T Atlanta Open.
Another under-the-radar American was successful in the other early qualifying match on Monday. Floridian, Austin Krajicek, dismantled Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, 6-2 6-1, in under an hour. Krajicek didn’t drop a set in qualifying and nailed nine aces by converting on 69% of his first serves while only facing one break point.
Krajicek is a “qualifying warrior” as he has advanced through the qualifying draw of four ATP World Tour events in 2015.