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Bubka Clears Final Bar To Qualify In Newport

Newport, U.S.A.

Bubka © Getty ImagesSergei Bubka will make his tour-level main draw debut on Tuesday.

Ukrainian Sergei Bubka, son of world record pole vaulter and Olympic gold medalist Sergey Bubka, qualified into his first ATP World Tour main draw Monday at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

“I spoke to my dad already,” he said shortly after rallying past German Simon Stadler 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final round of qualifying at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament in Newport. “He’s happy that he sees I’m improving, so hopefully I can play some good tennis in the main draw.”

The 335th-ranked Bubka, who won exactly one more point than Stadler in the one-hour, 50-minute match, said: “I’m really happy because I’ve struggled a few times in the past, losing in the last round of qualies, a couple close matches in the past. This one was close as well, but I’m happy I managed to get through it.”

The 23 year old nearly qualified for the Open 13 in Marseille earlier this season, but was edged out in a third set tie-break by Belgian Yannick Mertens in the final round.

“For sure it’s something special,” Bubka said about playing in the main draw of an ATP World Tour event, “so that’s why in the past I didn’t manage to do it. I felt a little bit, maybe, some pressure before, so finally I managed to get past this step and hopefully I’ll keep it up in the future. Finally a good opportunity for me to play against the top guys.”

Bubka, who takes on Australian Chris Guccione in the first round on Tuesday, won the indoor carpet title in 2009 at the Kyoto Challenger and reached a career-high South African Airways ATP Ranking of No. 176 last August.

His father, Sergey, established a high standard – winning the gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Games in Seoul and setting a new world record in pole vaulting 35 times.

As for his ability on a tennis court? “He’s not bad,” said Bubka. “He’s definitely a good athlete so he’s moving quite well. He likes tennis and whenever he has time he plays with his friends.”

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© Ben Solomon


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