Sorensen breaks duck of the Irish

25-year-old becomes first from Republic to win Grand Slam match in the Open era

Successful Irish tennis players are usually as rare as rainfall here at the Australian Open, but Louk Sorensen won his weather-delayed first-round encounter yesterday to become the first of his countrymen in the Open era to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament.

Sorensen, the world No 284, beat Lu Yen-Hsun, of Taiwan, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 to earn a second-round meeting today with John Isner, of the United States. At 6ft 9in Isner is a foot taller than the Irishman, but the world No 28 would have been wise not to expect a mismatch.

Until a fortnight ago 25-year-old Sorensen had never played a match on the main men's tour, let alone at a Grand Slam tournament, but he won three rounds of qualifying before losing to France's Stéphane Robert in Chennai and followed that up with another three victories in the qualifying competition here. Lu, the world No 101, is the highest ranked opponent he has ever beaten.

The last player to fly under an Irish flag in the men's singles at a Grand Slam tournament was Matt Doyle, who is of Irish stock but was born and bred in California. He changed his nationality in 1985, having won for the last time at a major the previous year. He played his last Grand Slam match here in 1986, losing to Jay Lapidus in the first round.

Sorensen's father, Sean, who lost to Rod Laver in the first round at Wimbledon in 1977, is the only other Irishman to have played in a Grand Slam event in the Open era.

Doyle and Sorensen senior took part in perhaps the most memorable event in Irish tennis history when they entertained the United States in the Davis Cup in 1983. A team captained by Arthur Ashe and including John McEnroe and Peter Fleming won the tie in Dublin 4-1.

Should Britain overcome the might of Lithuania in the Davis Cup in March, Ireland could be their next opponents. If Andy Murray is missing again, John Lloyd's team could be up against it. No British men made it into the last round of qualifying here, while Sorensen won all three of his matches and Conor Niland, the Irish No 2 and world No 285, fell at the final hurdle.

Sorensen has Norwegian ancestors, a father who is "100 per cent Irish" and a mother who is "50 per cent German and 50 per cent Austrian". His parents live in Dublin but Sorensen is based in Stuttgart, where he trains with a German coach, Carsten Arriens, and plays league tennis for TC Doggenburg in the Bundesliga, which helps him to pay his way on the Futures and Challenger circuit around Europe. As for his Irish credentials, Sorensen said he liked Guinness, "but not in the summer when it's hot".

How did he explain his recent upturn in form? "I've no idea – I've just kept playing," Sorensen said. "I've been injured so many times in the last few years, but the last couple of months were really good. I stayed healthy and felt great, so maybe it's just everything coming together now."

Asked about his future ambitions, Sorensen said: "My goal is just to stay healthy over the whole year and then check the rankings. That is my first goal. But I believe that by the end of the year I can maybe get to No 200 or No 150 in the rankings and then I'll see. Maybe I can go higher."

Emerald file: Sorensen's career

Born 7 January 1985

Height 5ft 9in (some 6in shorter than Andy Murray)

Turned pro 2003

Career prize money $73,599 (£45k)

World ranking 284 (highest 246)

Honours One ATP Challenger Tour title (Wolfsburg 2008). Has played six ATP tour matches, winning three

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone