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Ireland's James McGee goes in search of the promised land Down Under

The 29-year-old has been drawn against Croatian Matija Pecotic in Melbourne.

McGee qualified for the US Open in 2014.
McGee qualified for the US Open in 2014.
Image: FREY

IRISH NUMBER ONE James McGee will begin his quest to qualify for a second career Grand Slam in the early hours of tomorrow morning when he faces Croatian Matija Pecotic at the Australian Open.

The Castleknock native has been handed a favourable first qualifying round draw and will hope to follow his 2014 US Open appearance with another breakthrough Down Under.

McGee opens his 2017 campaign against Pecotic — who is ranked 329 places below him in the world — on Court 20 at Melbourne Park on Wednesday morning.

The action gets underway at 11pm Irish time (Tuesday), but McGee’s match is scheduled as the final one of the day.

The 29-year-old is the sole Irish representative in the men’s and women’s qualifying draws with Sam Barry not involved. Seventeen-year-old Simon Carr is, however, in the boys’ tournament after qualifying through the world rankings.

McGee will be desperate to go one step further than last year after he suffered heartbreak at the final hurdle 12 months ago.

Having progressed to the third qualifying round, the Dubliner slipped to a straight sets defeat to German Daniel Brands, a result which saw him fall agonisingly short of qualifying for the main draw.

Currently ranked 195th in the world, McGee will be looking to replicate the feat of Louk Sorensen who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open back in 2010.

After safely negotiating the qualifying rounds, Sorensen became the first Irish player to win a Grand Slam match in the Open era with victory over Lu Yen-hsun in four sets. He was beaten by American John Isner in the next round.

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Ryan Bailey

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