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Berankis, Ebden, Mannarino, Harrison qualify

3 January 2011, by Brisbane International Tennis

Australian Peter Luczak has been eliminated in the final round of qualifying, falling to second-seeded Lithuanian Richard Berankis in just under two hours.

Top 100 player Berankis took out the first set 6-3.

Luczak fired up for the second, taking the lead at 5-4 when thunder started cracking in the distance.

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Rain began to fall to the sound of more thunder just as Luczak prepared himself to convert set point at 40-15 and push the match to a third set.

Unfortunately for Luczak the umpire suspended play, which wouldn’t resume for more than an hour.

Following the delay, the loyal crowd came back to support the Aussie and cheer him on, as he closed out the set thanks to a forced error by Berankis.

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Straight up in the deciding set, Berankis dished up two aces in a row to show he meant business before getting away to a 4-0 lead.

Luczak fought back, but it wasn’t enough.

With a final ace – his 23rd of the match – Berankis took victory 6-3 5-7 6-2 to secure his place in the main draw.

“I feel very good. It’s my first time playing here in Brisbane,” Berankis said.

“Today was a very tough match with Peter.

“He played very well and didn’t make too many unforced errors.

“And, well, maybe I got a bit lucky that we got suspended when the score was 15-40.

“But I came back to five-all, but didn’t hold my concentration I guess and he used it and won second set.

“In third set I tried to be more aggressive, keep my energy up, I think it worked.

“I think this time it [suspended play] helped me, because then I got more energy and I relaxed a bit.

“Focus now is to play my best, you know, because everyone is so tough – all the best players in the world. So we’ll see how that goes.”

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Also winning their way into the main draw today was Frenchman Adrian Mannarino who won 7-5 4-6 6-3 over Tatsuma Ito of Japan, American Ryan Harrison who defeated Estonian Jurgen Zopp 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 and Matt Ebden who defeated fellow Aussie Greg Jones 6-4 6-1.

Harrison drew the short straw and will face men’s top seed Soderling in the first round, while Ebden could also consider himself unlucky to have been drawn to play countryman John Millman, Mannarino will face fourth seed Mardy Fish and Berankis will take on Australian Open 2001 finalist Arnaud Clement.

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