Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Dominik Stricker has advanced to the second round of Australian Open qualifying for the second consecutive year after defeating German veteran Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-4 at Melbourne Park Tuesday.

The 20-year-old, who fell to Australian veteran Matthew Ebden in the second round of AO qualifying last year, is yet to reach the final round of qualifying at a major. Stricker came up big in pressure moments, converting five of his break point chances and saving six of the eight break points on his own serve.

It was a mixed day for young Italian players. Francesco Passaro, 22, defeated 37-year-old Czech Lukas Rosol and 21-year-old Mattia Bellucci enjoyed a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chinese Taipei’s Wu Tung-Lin.

Rome’s Giulio Zeppieri, 21, also advanced Tuesday, defeating Santiago Rodriguez Taverna 6-4, 6-3.

But Italian Luca Nardi, who is expected to contend for a berth at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, had a disappointing debut in the Australian Open qualifying, falling 6-3, 6-1 to Ernesto Escobedo.


Fellow Italian Flavio Cobolli, 20, also suffered a first-round exit in qualies, beaten 6-0, 6-4 by American Mitchell Krueger. French veteran Benoit Paire drew on his experience to edge Brazil’s Matheus Pucinelli De Almeida 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5.

In one of the matches of the day, Ecuadorian Emilio Gomez clawed past Briton Liam Broady 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(10-7).

#NextGenATP standout Shang Juncheng ousted Fabian Marozsan 6-4, 7-6(2) and former Australian Open semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco began his pursuit of another main draw berth in Melbourne with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory against Nino Serdarusic.