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Sorensen wins in Grand style

Ireland were celebrating their first win at a grand slam tournament when Louk Sorensen beat Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-1 at the Australian Open today.

Sorensen had already done what no other Irish tennis player had achieved in a quarter of a century when he qualified for the first grand slam of the year.

But by winning his first round match, the 25-year-old not only became the first Irish player to win at a grand slam event, he also stepped into the unfamiliar spotlight.

"I don't know what's going on right now," he told a news conference. "I've suddenly got so many friend requests on Facebook."

Before Tuesday's breakthrough win, Sorensen was best known as the son of Sean Sorensen, the current captain of the Ireland Davis Cup team, who played in the first round of Wimbledon in 1977, losing to Rod Laver.

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

"The money's good," he said. "And I can be the number one player."

Sorensen has won tournaments on the Challenger and Futures Circuit but had to go through the qualifying competition for the Australian Open because his ranking (284) was too low for an automatic place.

Sorensen's second round match is against American John Isner, who won last week's Auckland International, and will present a whole new challenge for the Irishman.

Sorensen, who stands 1.77m tall, is one of the shortest men at the Australian Open while Isner, at 2.09m, is one of the tallest.

"I'm feeling great, it's the biggest achievement of my career so far," he said. "The level between the qualifiers and the main draw, there is not such a big difference. You just need a bit of luck.

"Isner is a big server. I have never played anyone that tall. He is huge.

"I am maybe going to watch a few points on YouTube."

Meanwhile, Roger Federer survived a scare against big-serving Igor Andreev in the first round, coming back from a set down to beat the Russian 4-6 6-2 7-6 6-0.

Federer, who has never been eliminated in the first round in 11 appearances at Melbourne Park, next plays the winner of the match between Chile's Juan Ignacio Chela and Romania's Victor Hanescu.

Although Serena Williams opened her title defence with a clinical 6-2 6-1 victory over Poland's Urszula Radwanska, her subdued performance provoked questions about whether she was reining in her personality.

Williams, whose last grand slam ended in a huge fine and a two-year probation after a tirade at a line judge at Flushing Meadows, denied she had changed her on-court style to protect herself from the game's moral guardians.

"No, I don't think I was quiet at all. I felt like I pumped my fist a little bit. I feel like I was definitely being who I could be. That's all I can do," said Williams.

Williams's win preserved her record of never being knocked out of the first round of a grand slam. She will next play the winner of the match between fellow American Jill Craybas and Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.