Purcell, Vukic get hot for Wimbledon at Eastbourne

The sun has come out at the English seaside town of Eastbourne, and the form of Australia's tennis men on the baked grass-courts there appears to be getting hotter too -- just on cue before Wimbledon.

Aleksandar Vukic had got fortunate as a 'lucky loser' qualifier at the Eastbourne International, while the bracing sea air worked wonders for the lately struggling Purcell as he forged his way through qualifying at Devonshire Park, one of his favourite old stamping grounds.

And once they hit the main draw this week, the pair have been soaring just like the temperatures, with both steaming into the quarter-finals with accomplished victories on Wednesday.

World No.94 Purcell, who's had a tough run this season and is in danger of losing his place in the top 100 after reaching as high as 40 last October, earned another morale-boosting 6-4 6-4 victory over Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Aleksandar Vukic is enjoying success on the grass too at Eastbourne. (EPA PHOTO)

Vukic defeated the third seed Alexander Bublik by exactly the same score, and he did it nearly half an hour quicker as the Aussie pair scented the possibility of a big week before they launch their Wimbledon assaults.

Purcell, who's won two matches in qualifying and two more in the main draw, loves Eastbourne. It was there three years ago that the then doubles specialist first properly demonstrated what a fine singles player he could be too by reaching the semi-finals.

And if you wanted a demonstration of how much he's improved, the man who beat him that year was actually Sonego.

For Vukic, opportunity knocks too. He was knocked out of qualifying by Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round of qualifying 7-6 (7-3) 6-4, but hasn't lost a set in two matches since as he swept aside Hungary's Fabian Marozsan and Bublik.

On Thursday, he now gets the chance to reach his first tour-level semi-final for 11 months by gaining revenge over the same Japanese player Nishioka who had sent him packing just four days earlier.

American Taylor Fritz, who's just lost his US No.1 ranking to Queen's Club winner Tommy Paul, is by the end of the week going to get back his prized spot after also reaching the quarter-finals with his 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory over unseeded Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild.

Meanwhile, in the other ATP Wimbledon warm-up event in Mallorca, Rinky Hijikata's hopes of a win to celebrate his selection to the Australian Olympic team failed to materialise as he got pasted 6-4 6-0 by top-seeded American Ben Shelton, who looks as if he could pose a threat on the Wimbledon grass.

Queenslander Adam Walton, who's looking forward to his first ever Wimbledon, is still trying to get to grips with the grass-court game that's alien to him as he went down 6-0 6-3 to qualifier Paul Jubb, a talented Briton who's perfectly comfortable on the surface.