Australian Mark Philippoussis took a step forward towards an Australian Open wildcard when he upset Russian star Dmitry Tursunov at Hopman cup in Berth of Australia on Saturday.
Philippoussis, a dual Grand Slam finalist and former world No. 8, is trying to save his downgrading career after three years of poor results.
Currently ranked 114th in the world, he has been made to sweat on a wildcard by organizers of 2007's first Grand Slam, but the 30-year-old made the best possible start to the season in beating Tursunov, a player ranked 92 positions above him in straight sets.
His trademark powerful serve was working with 15 aces and he moved impressively as he showed a renewed appetite for serve and volley tactics in the 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) win over the 22nd-ranked Tursunov, who was a Davis Cup hero for Russia this year.
Philippoussis wants to emulate Andre Agassi's late career revival and has been working with the American's coach, fellow Australian Darren Cahill, and fitness advisor, Gil Reyes, in Las Vegas.
Saturday's surprise result seemingly makes an Australian Open wildcard a formality and Philippoussis said the win was a reward for recent hard work.
Philippoussis, beaten in the 1998 US Open final by Pat Rafter and in the 2003 Wimbledon decider by Roger Federer, was particularly pleased with his rhythm on the serve.
Although his knees have troubled him in recent years, Philippoussis said he was confident his body was ready for 2007.