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Knowles set to play in first tourney of 2011 today

The first tournament on this year’s schedule for Bahamian tennis professional Mark Knowles is the Medibank International, set to start today at the Sydney Olympic Park, in Sydney, Australia.

Knowles is scheduled to team up with Michal Mertinak of Slovakia. The duo is set to play the French pair of Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon today. Both teams are unseeded in the tournament. The top seeds are Americans Bob and Mike Bryan, and they are followed by Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. Lukas Kubot and Oliver Marach are the third seeds. If Knowles and Mertinak are successful in the first round, the team will face the winner of the Bryans/Dick Norman and Filip Plasek match, which is set to be played on Tuesday.

At last year’s tournament, Knowles partnered with American Mardy Fish. They were forced to retire in the first round against Carston Ball and Stephen Huss after Knowles suffered an injury to his left calf. As a result of the injury, Knowles did not participate in the first Grand Slam event of the 2010 season, the Australian Open. This year’s Australian Open is scheduled to start January 17, in Melbourne, Australia. It is not known at this time who Knowles will play with.

Bahamian-born Ryan Sweeting, who now plays under the American banner, is playing in the Heineken Open, in Auckland, New Zealand. The tournament got underway on Saturday, and Sweeting was scheduled to play a qualifying singles match yesterday against John Statham of New Zealand. It is unknown if Sweeting was able to secure a spot in the main draw of 32, as results were unavailable up to press time. However, play in the men’s main singles draw will commence today. Sweeting played in the Medibank International last year. He was eliminated in the third round of the men’s singles qualifiers. He also advanced to the third round of the qualifiers in the Australian Open but was eliminated by Stefan Koubek, 4-6, 7-6(5)and 7-9.

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