Louk crashes out in Oz but still cashes in

LOUK SORENSEN collected the biggest pay cheque of his career following his 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 defeat by giant American John Isner in the second round of the Australian Open yesterday.

The Irish right-hander picked up €20,242 for his efforts in his five matches at the Melbourne Park event.

The financial pickings on the ITF Futures and ATP Challenger Tour circuits are slim enough, and so far in his career Sorensen has only managed to amass €52,058.

Understandably, his Australian Open figure represents his greatest success, dwarfing his previous best of €4,260 for reaching the semi-finals of the Challenger event in Orbetello, Italy, last July.

Given the sensational manner in which 284-ranked Sorensen made a mockery of the world placings by dumping out 158-ranked American Michael Yani, and Chinese-Taipei’s 101-ranked Yen-Hsun Lu, the Irish star can feel confident as he plans for the season ahead.

Despite his shock victories over Yani and Lu, who defeated Argentina’s former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian in last year’s Australian Open, it was a major ask for Sorensen to continue his memorable run against 28-ranked Isner, who stands 6ft 9ins.

But after being considerably outgunned in the opener, the Irish player put up a very creditable performance in the second and third sets, holding his serve until the tie-break in the second set, which lasted 51 minutes.

And the closely-contested nature of the final set is evidenced by the fact that Sorensen kept Isner on court for a marathon 57 minutes.

While the South Carolina native hammered in 21 aces, his opponent fired in 11 such winners.

But a crucial factor was that the American converted two of his five break points while his opponent failed to avail of any of his three.

As well, Isner won points on 21 of his 26 advances to the net, while Sorensen made similar moves on only three occasions, and failed to profit from one.

As well as his prize money tempering the disappointment of failing to nail down a third-round clash against France’s No 12 seed Gael Monfils, Sorensen is set to improve approximately 58 places in the ATP single world rankings.

The Stuttgart native picked up 45 ranking points, and that will see him improve 284 places to approximately 226, a career best position.

But he still has a bit of catching-up to do on his father Sean, the former Davis Cup ace and current Ireland Davis Cup team boss.

Cork-city born Sean went close to breaking into the top 200 in the singles world rankings, being placed at 203 on December 12, 1980.

And the Douglas man was only headed in the Irish all-time list by his long-time Davis Cup doubles partner Matt Doyle, who achieved a very respectable position of 65 on March 15, 1982.

Louk Sorensen’s new mark is likely to see him leapfrog his former Davis Cup team boss Owen Casey, who was placed at 228 on October 12, 1992, and his current Davis Cup teammate Conor Niland, whose best mark is 229 set on August 11, 2008.

Also on 229 is Louk Sorensen’s ex-Davis Cup colleague Peter Clarke, who peaked on November 20, 2000.

Sorensen was raised in Germany and although his parents live in Dublin, Sorensen remains in Stuttgart, training and playing in the German tennis league’s third division.

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