Irish Player Wins First Ever Grand Slam Match

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MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Ireland were celebrating their first win at a grand slam tournament when Louk Sorensen beat Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-1 at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Sorensen had already done what no other Irish tennis player had achieved in a quarter of a century when he qualified for the first grand slam of the year.

But by winning his first round match, the 25-year-old not only became the first Irish player to win at a grand slam event, he also stepped into the unfamiliar spotlight.

"I don't know what's going on right now," he told a news conference. "I've suddenly got so many friend requests on Facebook."

Before Tuesday's breakthrough win, Sorensen was best known as the son of Sean Sorenson, the current captain of the Ireland Davis Cup team, who played in the first round of Wimbledon in 1977, losing to Rod Laver.

He was raised in Germany and although his parents now live in Dublin, Sorensen remains in Stuttgart, training and playing in the German tennis league's third division.

"The money's good," he said. "And I can be the number one player."

Sorensen has won tournaments on the Challenger and Futures Circuit but had to go through the qualifying competition for the Australian Open because his ranking (284) was too low for an automatic place.

Sorensen's second round match is against American John Isner, who won last week's Auckland International, and will present a whole new challenge for the Irishman.

Sorensen, who stands 1.77 metres tall, is one of the shortest men at the Australian Open while Isner, at 2.09m, is one of the biggest.

"I'm feeling great, it's the biggest achoevement of my career so far," he said. "I think it was an advantage to come through the qualifiers because I was used to the courts.

"The level between the qualies and the main draw, there is not such a big difference. You just need a bit of luck."
 
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