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The Eh Game

Dancevic, Dubois reach final round of Australian Open qualifying

Stephanie Myles
Eh Game

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Frank Dancevic gives it a fist pump after a winning shot during his second-round qualifying win at the Australian …

MELBOURNE, Australia – There were seven Canadians in the qualifying draws at the Australian Open this year.

With one round to go, two remain.

Filip Peliwo, Steven Diez, Aleksandra Wozniak and Sharon Fichman went out in the first round; Peter Polansky lost Friday in the second round.

On Saturday, Stéphanie Dubois of Laval, Que. And Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont. will fight for a spot in the main draw.

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Stéphanie Dubois during her routine win over Alexandra Panova of Russia Friday in the Australian Open qualifyi …

Dubois had the easier day of the two Friday, defeating Alexandra Panova of Russia, the No. 15 qualifying seed, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

“It was much better than the first match, because I was able to put into practice the things I worked on in the offseason, like being more aggressive,” Dubois said. “I didn’t give her a chance to come back, that’s what I liked. Yesterday, (my opponent) came back in both sets. Today I said, “No. Concentrate.”

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Dancevic's win Friday wasn't without its angst-filled moments (Stephanie Myles)

Dancevic had a far tougher time, edging out veteran American Bobby Reynolds 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

The 29-year old struggled with the gusty conditions against the player who has always seemed to be the biggest thorn in his tennis side

The two have played 12 times, mostly at the minor-league Challenger level; Reynolds has won seven of their last nine, including the last three.

In 2008, when Dancevic pulled off a major upset at Wimbledon by defeating former finalist David Nalbandian in the first round, whom did he come up against in the second round?

Reynolds.

He lost in four sets.

“I think that he loves pace. When I play quick, he loves it. He plays well, but when I start mixing up my game, it throws him off,” a very happy Dancevic said. “I kind of got lost in the second set – too many dinks, too much junk. I picked up my pace a bit in the third. But to be honest, it was up and down both ways.

“When I was serving at 5-5 in the third, I told myself to just hold here somehow, because I couldn’t wait for him to serve on that side at 5-6 in the third,” he added. “It was so tough from that side. You hit a serve, you’re blinking your eyes. The sun was just in that right spot.”

Dancevic will play the Italian Potito Starace, a player with whom he has no history at all.

A 32-year-old who has been ranked as high as No. 27, Starace is currently No. 153 to Dancevic’s No. 122.

Dubois’s opponent is a 20-year-old who is still to qualify for a main draw at a Grand Slam tournament. This is her ninth attempt.

Both Dubois and Dancevic will be the second matches on their respective courts Saturday, with a 12:30 p.m. start. They should start play shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday night, Eastern time.

Follow the live scores here.

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