Max Purcell roared with sheer joy as he converted match point to qualify for the Australian Open and the first grand slam singles draw of his career.
The 21-year-old overpowered Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-4 6-2 at Melbourne Park on Friday, breaking his higher-ranked opponent's serve twice in the second set.
Purcell started to feel like an elusive grand slam appearance might be beyond his grasp after he lost the final of last month's Australian Open wildcard playoff.
"I've always been like, 'I think I'll make one, I think I'll make one'," Purcell said.
"But every slam that goes past and you don't (make it), you start to wonder if it will ever happen. It's just such a relief."
Now Purcell, who hails from Sydney and is currently No.216 in the world, is salivating at the prospect of having some hometown support.
"Especially at my home slam, I'll have the crowd behind me on Monday or Tuesday and I'm going to give it everything," he said.
"I feel my game is heading in the right direction.
"I've been taking care of my diet, all my fitness, dropping weight that I didn't need to carry around the court, and working a lot on my mental strength.
"I guess it's all paying off."
Local hopes Aleksandar Vukic and Destanee Aiava will attempt to follow Purcell into the main draw when qualifying wraps up on on Saturday.
Of the 22 Australians who started qualifying this week, only Vukic and Aiava are left with a shot at the main draw after Purcell booked his berth.
Vukic will play Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan, while Aiava will face off against German Antonia Lottner in the final round of qualifying that has extended into Saturday due to the smoke haze and wild weather in Melbourne this week.
While Purcell progressed, the two other Australians in action on Friday didn't fare so well.
Rinky Hijikata upset No.2 seed Henri Laaksonen to progress to the second round, but fell to world No. 175 Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 7-5.
Storm Sanders also bowed out in the second round, with Slovenian Kaja Juvan prevailing 6-0 2-6 6-3.
In other notable results, former world No.5 Eugenie Bouchard lost to Italian Martina Trevisan 6-4 6-3 in their final-round clash.
And men's top seed Dennis Novak moved into the final round with a 6-1 6-4 win over Slovakian Filip Horansky.
Australian Associated Press