John-Patrick Smith will contest the main draw at Wimbledon.
John-Patrick Smith will contest the main draw at Wimbledon.

Smith avenges agonising Wimbledon near miss

TOWNSVILLE tennis ace John-Patrick Smith has avenged his agonising near miss of last year, and secured a guaranteed big money payday in the process, by qualifying for his second Wimbledon main draw appearance.

Twelve months after falling at the third and final qualifying hurdle to Chilean Christian Garin, the world no.211 dominated American Michael Mmoh 6-2 6-4 6-3 last night to earn his place.

With even first round losers guaranteed almost A$70,000, it is a huge boost for the 29-year-old, as it will ensure he at least double his prizemoney he's won this year.

"I lost 12-10 last year. It was a heartbreaker so it's obviously a good feeling," Smith said.

"I always player well out there. I think this is one of my favourite venues to play at, the whole lead-up here I always play well.

"I've always beaten some good quality people through the years out here."

Fellow Aussies, Alex Bolt, Jason Kubler also showed Bernard Tomic how it's done with gallant efforts to reach the Wimbledon main draw.

They bolstered Australia's singles contingent to 13 for the grass-court grand slam with watershed final round qualifying wins off their ow after Tomic spectacularly bombed out with a straight-sets pummelling.

Bolt was overjoyed after denying his more-celebrated fellow South Australian and "best mate on tour" Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-5 in a three- hour thriller.

"I didn't know what to do," said the world No. 205.

"I just hit the volley (on match point) and he didn't go for it and I just collapsed. I felt like I lost control of my whole body." The 25-year-old world No. 205's career-changing triumph comes after he gave up the sport to build fences around Murray Bridge to pay the bills. "I basically took all of 2016 off and came back at the start of 2017 and two years later I've qualified for Wimbledon. I would never have dreamt of this in my life," Bolt said.

Urged on by Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, Kubler overcame cramps and the disappointment of blowing three third-set match points before advancing with a sapping 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 victory over seasoned Canadian Peter Polansky.

His journey to the big time has been equally amazing.

After countless surgeries, the former world No. 1 junior has spent most of his career playing on clay because his knees can't take much else. "It's unreal," Kubler said.

"I've had probably the best 12 months of my life. I've come from not really knowing if I'm going to continue playing tennis to qualifying at Wimbledon."