IRELAND’S NUMBER ONE tennis player, Conor Niland, has qualified for the US Open tennis tournament – his second straight grand slam tournament – after a three-set victory over the Netherlands’ Matwe Mittelkoop at Flushing Meadows today.
Having lost the opening set on Court 5 by 6 games to 2, Niland fought back to break twice in the second set, winning 6-1, before a decisive break in the deciding set handed the Limerick man a 6-4 victory.
The world number 199 has now qualified for the tournament proper, though his first-round opponent has not yet been identified. It’s also not clear when his match may begin, with New York set to be hit by Hurricane Irene in the coming hours.
In addition to paving the way for a surge in the world rankings, the Limerick man’s qualification also goes some way towards validating his slightly unorthodox nutritional preparation.
Ireland’s number two Louk Sorensen could still join him, having won his second round encounter with Argentina’s Gastao Elias.
In his case too, though, it’s unclear when a third-round qualifier will be held.
Additional reporting by Conor Nagle