The Davis Cup teammates both recorded victories yesterday overopponents possessing significantly higher ranking positions to nail down second-round places in the only adult world-ranking event held in this country in 2011.
Swords man Cluskey now focuses largely on doubles competition, and at 360 in the ATP world list, he is currently the top-ranked doubles player in this country.
As well, he represented Ireland in pairs action in the recent Davis Cup relegation play-off win over Tunisia, and along with international teammate James McGee is the top seed in the doubles competition in the only adult world-ranking event held this year in Ireland.
But the 6ft 5ins right-hander showed that he is still no slouch in the singles arena when he stormed back from losing the first set to record a 3-6 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (7/0) victory over France’s Simon Cauvard, who has a singles world ranking of 605 compared to the Irish player’s mark of 1,805.
In the wake of his tie-deciding singles win in the Davis Cup clash against Tunisia, King carried that level of outstanding form into his opening match in the Irish Open.
Facing a world ranking deficit of 591 places — 1,061 to 470, King was a rank outsider against South Africa’s No 6 seed, Ruan Roelofse.
But the Davis Cup hero defied the odds in stunning style, pulling off a 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory.
King’s victory sets up an intriguing second-round contest against Greystones’ 18-year-old Ciaran Fitzgerald who surprised Britain’s Keelan Oakley 1-6 6-4 6-2 on Monday.
Another Irish success was recorded by Limerick teenager Sam Barry who saw off the challenge of Sweden’s Stefan Borg — no relation of former world No 1 Bjorn Borg — on a 6-2 6-4 margin.