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Canberra $75,000 ATP Challenger: Teenager gains vital experience from qualifying exit

Promising Canberra teenager Dimitri Morogiannis says he needs to become mentally tougher and learn to battle through injuries to take his game to the next level.

After notching his maiden victory in an ATP tournament, the 16-year-old succumbed to fellow Australian Jake Delaney at the Canberra $75,000 ATP Challenger on Saturday.

Morogiannis took full advantage of his qualifying wildcard when he upset 42-year-old Italian Enrico Becuzzi 6-1, 6-3 in his opening match.

He was back on court a couple of hours later to take on sixth seed Delaney, who was given a bye in the first round.

Morogiannis started strongly, but was hampered by pain in his knee, restricting his court movement.

"I thought I would be all right, but the high level of tennis really gets you," he said. "That first one, I won quite comfortably, but it was still hard work. This match, my knees were kind of stuffed, so it was a mental battle.


"I tried to push, but unfortunately didn't get over the line."

Morogiannis will now head to Traralgon to contest an ITF event next week ahead of the junior Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

"I need to be 100 per cent for Melbourne and I can't let these niggles stop me," he said. "Today, for me, it's mental. You have to get used to that kind of stuff. It's good experience for me that you have to push through those things."

Morogiannis burst out of the gates in his first match against Becuzzi, having too much pace across the court for his much older rival.

He tried to adopt the same tactic against Delaney, but the 18-year-old from Sydney gained the early break on his way to winning the opening set.

Delaney capitalised on Morogiannis having to back up, running him around the court and forcing him to cover plenty of ground.

"I was pretty happy with that, just played solid, it's always good to get a win under your belt," Delaney said. "[Morogiannis] was probably a little bit tired after playing a couple of sets this morning, it's tough playing two matches in one day.

"I love the conditions here in Canberra, so it should be a good opportunity to play well."

Delaney faces a tough ask to progress to the main draw when he faces Sergey Betov in the final round of qualifying on Sunday.

Tournament top seed Paolo Lorenzi will face fellow Italian Stefano Napolitano in the opening round of the main draw, which starts on Monday.

Matthew Ebden (ranked 105) faces Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver (98), Blake Mott takes on former world No.19 Marcel Granollers and Dayne Kelly has drawn No.5 seed Ivan Dodig.

SUNDAY: Canberra $75,000 ATP Challenger at the Canberra Tennis Centre. Qualifying: Centre court. 10am: Nathanael Consalvo v Daniel Nolan. Not before 11.30am: Sergey Betov (BLR) v Jake Delaney. 10am: Court five: Gian Marco Moroni (ITA) v Frank Moser (GER). Not before 11.30am: Steven De Waard v Blake Ellis.