Sam Groth of Australia plays a forehand.
Sam Groth of Australia plays a forehand. Ben Curtis

Groth facing tricky path to Australian Open

TENNIS: Struggling Australian Sam Groth begins his bid to contest next month's Australian Open today when he contests the wildcard playoff.

The one-time world No.53 has sunk to No.181 after winning just four matches on the ATP Tour this year. He will need to win four straight matches to secure a berth at Melbourne Park for the local major.

Groth is seeded second behind Andrew Whittington in a quality field including former Australian Open junior champion Luke Saville.

The girls' wildcard playoff, headed by top seed Arina Rodionova and also featuring Sara Tomic, gets under way tomorrow.