Knowles, Mertinak set for a run in the Aussie Open
After having to withdraw from last year’s Australian Open, Bahamian touring professional Mark Knowles has returned with a new partner, and is all geared up for the first Grand Slam event of the year. Knowles will play in the men’s doubles segment with Michal Mertinak of Slovakia.
The duo is expected to be challenged by top doubles teams like American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi, and Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, at the tournament which is being staged at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia.
Knowles and Mertinak are seeded 12th, and they will play out of the first half of the men’s doubles draw. Their opening match is scheduled to be against Teymuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Kukushkin.
Knowles was forced to withdraw last year after suffering an injury to his left calf. At that time, he and former partner American Mardy Fish, were playing Carston Ball and Stephen Huss.
The Australian Open will serve as the second tournament of the year for Knowles and Mertinak. The Bahamian/Slovakian team were eliminated in the quarter-final rounds of the Medibank International last week. They fell, 6-3 and 6-2, to the Bryans, who finished as the runner-up to Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Hanley. Knowles and Mertinak are looking to avenge that loss to the Bryans in Melbourne.
Playing in the men’s singles segment of the tournament is Bahamian-born Ryan Sweeting, who now competes under the American banner. His opening round of play will put him up against Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Both players are unseeded.