Australia’s Chris O’Connell to skip Wimbledon as Jordan Thompson wins at Surbiton

Australia’s Jordan Thompson has made a strong start to his grass-court season, but one of his countrymen plans to bypass Wimbledon.

Jordan Thompson has kicked off his grass-court season with victory at the Surbiton Trophy as fellow Sydneysider Chris O’Connell confirms he will skip Wimbledon.

Eighth-seeded Thompson rallied from a break down in the first set to defeat American No.7 seed Denis Kudla 7-5 6-3 in 99 minutes at the Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club in south-east England.

The 28-year-old Australian was Rafael Nadal’s first scalp in his charge to a record 14th French Open title on Sunday night but rebounded superbly from that setback.

Kudla ousted local favourite Andy Murray in three sets in the semi-finals.

But Australia’s hopes of a clean sweep of the Surbiton singles titles fell short, with Arina Rodionova going down 7-6(3) 6-2 to Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, the second seed.

Thompson, who climbed eight spots to No.74 in the rankings, lost the Surbiton final in 2017 but had the lion’s share of opportunities against Kudla to continue his love affair with grass-courts.

“My best results have come on grass, so I always feel pretty comfortable,” Thompson said.

“I feel like I move well on it and serve and return pretty soundly, so I’m just happy to be back on the green stuff.

“I just want to keep winning matches. One match at a time, one point at a time and just have the right attitude.”

Thompson beat O’Connell in the Surbiton quarter-finals before the latter qualified on Sunday night for the ATP 250 Stuttgart Open, also held on grass, to set up a clash with former world No.1 Murray.

O’Connell strongly hinted after his first-round French Open defeat a fortnight ago that he was considering bypassing Wimbledon, which was stripped of ranking points after officials’ decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.

News Corp has confirmed the world No.116 will miss Wimbledon qualifying to instead compete at one of the ATP 250 grass-court events at Eastbourne or Mallorca, both of which will offer ranking points.

O’Connell made a career-best run to the third round at this year’s Australian Open.

“My ambition is to make the top 100. If I go to Wimbledon, then I’m in qualifying first and I waste a week there,” O’Connell said at the French Open.

“And if I happen to qualify, then I waste another week.”

Rodionova was still pleased with her week at Surbiton, ahead of her bid in the coming weeks to qualify for Wimbledon for a third time, after doing so in 2019 and 2017.

“It’s the first week on grass and it’s my favourite surface, so I’m pretty happy just being here and, of course, getting a few wins under the belt,” she said.

“Coming into the next weeks; that’s always great. Alison is a tough opponent, so I don’t think I was the favourite – to be honest, in any of the matches this week – so I’m pretty happy with the week overall.”

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