Tag: belinda woolcock

2021 Adelaide International: Day 1 of qualifiers sees Americans and Aussies dominate

THE Adelaide International qualifying rounds have begun, with a flurry of American and Australian competitors taking the court in South Australia and at least one player from each of the two nations playing in each match. They combined for eight of the 12 winners on the day, including top seed youngster Coco Gauff and unseeded wildcard Storm Sanders, who disposed of second seed American Bernarda Pera in three sets.

In an interesting stat, the top four seeds all hailed from the United States, with just Pera falling from that group. Gauff was clinical in her encounter with Great Britain’s Francesca Jones, disposing of the Brit in 64 minutes and joined by Madison BrengleChristina McHale and Caty McNally on the winners list. Also hailing from the United States but falling in the first round was Asia Muhammad, who stole the first set from Italian Jasmine Paolini but eventually fell in the lone two-plus hour encounters of the day, going down to the sixth seed 4-6 6-3 7-6.

Heading to the Australian winners, and it was Maddison InglisAstra Sharma and Ellen Perez who joined Sanders in the second round, with Inglis knocking compatriot Belinda Woolcock out of the running. Destanee AiavaArina RodionovaLizette CabreraIvana Popovic and Kimberly Birrell will all remain on the sidelines on home soil, unlucky to all draw seeds. Sanders and Sharma impressed with their three set victories over Pera and Lesia Tsurenko showing plenty of intent ahead of the second round.

The remaining non American or Australian winners included Liudmila SamsonovaMisaki Doi and Kaja Juvan, as all three competitors claimed straight set wins over homegrown talent.

The qualifiers will continue today with the first round beginning on Tuesday.

Australian Open: Qualifying Round 1/2 – Bogdan and Bouchard cruise through to final round

AFTER rain delays caused the majority of Day 2 matches to be suspended or cancelled, organisers rushed to fill the third day with extra games to catch up across the Australian Open Qualifying Round. In a massive day of action there was plenty to talk about as some epic encounters ensued.

In one of the longest games of Round 1, 18th seed Yannick Maden defeated compatriot, Maximilian Marterer of Germany in three tiebreakers, 6-7 7-6 7-6 to advance through to the second round in more than three hours. Also through were fourth seed Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, fifth seed Slovakia’s Andrej Martin, sixth seed Russian Evgeny Donskoy – who had to to survive a two hour and 42 minute thriller – and 24th seed Argentinian Facundo Bagnis. On the home front, local hope and wildcard Rinky Hijikata made the most of a suspended 6-6-6 match on day two against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, coming back to topple the second seed in the tiebreaker 7-0, then winning the second set in a tiebreaker to move through with a 7-6 7-6 victory. In one of the strangest of circumstances, Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez was originally playing Sweden’s Elias Ymer in the first round, but the Swede had to withdraw allowing Croatian, Viktor Galovic to come into the draw. Unfortunately for Gomez, Galovic proved he was not just a fill-in, claiming a three-set win 7-6 2-6 6-3.

It was even better news for a couple of Australians in the Round 2 matches with Aleksandar Vukic moving one win away away from qualifying for the main draw with an upset 6-4 6-3 win over Germany’s Matthias Bachinger. He now faces Daniel Galan in the final round in what will be a huge challenge. Max Purcell also advanced to the final round with a win over 13th seed, Gianluca Mager, 6-3 4-6 6-4 to now face Jozef Kovalik. The 26th seed knocked off Australian wildcard Luke Saville in three hours and 10 minutes during a 6-7 7-6 6-4 epic encounter and may have to play the role of party pooper in the final round. In other results, Lukas Rosol advanced past 12th seed Italian Pablo Lorenzi, 6-7 7-6 7-5 in two hours and 58 minutes, with neither of these players deserving of a second round qualifying exit but it had to be one of them. Former top 15 player Ernests Gulbis also advanced through to the final round of qualifying, defeating 15th seed Argentinian, Federico Coria 6-3 1-6 6-2.

Men’s Round 2:

I. Ivashka (BLR) defeated [7] Denis Kudla (USA) 7-6 5-7 7-5
Z. Li (CHN) defeated J. Domingues (POR) 6-4 6-1
[10] N. Gombos (SVK) defeated R. Marcora (ITA) 6-2 6-4
P. Krstin (SRB) defeated F. Ferreira Silva (POR) 3-6 6-4 6-1
[WC] A. Vukic (AUS) defeated M. Bachinger (GER) 6-4 6-3
D. Galan (COL) defeated [19] J. Jung (TAI) 6-3 3-6 6-3
L. Rosol (CZE) defeated [12] Pablo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-7 7-6 7-5 2hrs 58
P. Martinez (ESP) defeated [29] J. Varillas (PER) 6-3 6-3
M. Purcell (AUS) defeated [13] G. Mager (ITA) 6-3 4-6 6-4
[26] J. Kovalik (SRB) defeated [WC] L. Saville (AUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4 3hrs 10
M. Viola (ITA) defeated M. Janvier (FRA) 7-6 6-4
A. Tabilo (CHI) defeated S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 2-6 6-2 6-3
E. Gulbis (LAT) defeated [15] F. Coria (ARG) 6-3 1-6 6-2
[17] P. Gunneswaran (IND) defeated Y. Hanfmann (GER) 1-6 6-2 6-1
[16] P. Gojowczyk (GER) defeated B. Kavcic (SRB) 3-6 6-3 6-4
C. Lestienne (FRA) defeated [WC] B. Mott (AUS) 6-4 6-4

Round 1 SUPENDED/DNP completed:

F. Horansky (SVK) defeated R. Ortega-Olmedo (ESP) 4-6 7-5 6-4
[WC] R. Hijikata (AUS) defeated [2] H. Laaksonen (SUI) 7-6 7-6
M.Copil (ROU) defeated T. Wu (TAI) 3-6 7-6 7-6
[WC] L. Musetti (ITA) defeated [20] A. Weintraub (ISR) 6-2 6-1
V. Troicki (SRB) defeated [22] B. Klahn (USA) 6-4 6-2
[4] E. Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated F. Mena (ARG) 7-5 6-2
E. Benchetrit (FRA) defeated S. Darcis (BEL) 7-5 7-5
E. Couacaud (FRA) defeated D. Petovic (SRB) 4-6 7-6 6-2
D. Popko (KAZ) defeated [25] Z. Zhang (CHN) 7-6 7-6
[5] A. Martin (SVK) defeated A. Vatutin (RUS) 6-3 6-2
M. Borgue (FRA) defeated O. Otte (GER) 5-7 6-1 6-1
M. Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated N. Mahut (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[24] F. Bagnis (ARG) defeated S. Napolitano (ITA) 6-3 6-4
[6] E. Donskoy (RUS) defeated J. Menezes (BRA) 6-7 6-1 7-6
V. Galovic (CRO) defeated E. Gomez (ECU) 7-6 2-6 6-3 (was originally E Ymer)
A. Muller (FRA) defeated P. Polansky (CAN) 6-1 6-2
M. Safawat (IRQ) defeated [21] S. Nagal (IND) 7-6 6-2
N. Milojevic (SRB) defeated [8] T. Daniel (JPN) 7-5 6-4
M. Trungelliti (ARG) defeated [9] G. Soeda (JPN) 6-4 6-4
J. Wolf (USA) defeated Z. Kolar (CZE) 6-4 6-2
L. Giustino (ITA) defeated Y. Bai (CHN) 6-3 7-5
[18] Y. Maden (GER) defeated M. Marterer (GER) 6-7 7-6 7-6 3hrs 10

Completing the remainder of the women’s Round 1 clashes that were suspended or delayed, there were a number of interesting results, the most surprising of which was the exit of former world number five, Sara Errani. The Italian was bundled out by fifth seed Russian, Anna Kalinskaya 6-2 1-6 6-2. It was better news for top seeds, Japan’s Nao Hibino, Russia’s Varvava Gracheva, Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska, Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva and United States’ Catherine McNally with the top 10 seeds all advancing through to the next round. The 13th seed, Belgium’s Greet Minnen got past local hope, Kaylah McPhee, winning 6-3 2-6 6-3 with the deciding set played yesterday. McPhee joined other Aussies, Olivia Rogowska and Jaimee Fourlis in exiting the tournament in the first round, while wildcard Storm Sanders moved into the second round with a comprehensive 6-2 6-0 smashing of United States’ Robin Anderson.

In Round 2 matches, it was the procession of the seeds into the final round with eight of the 14 seeds moving through already and some mixed results for local hopes. Top seed, Ana Bogdan and the only player ranked inside 100 on the live rankings knocked off Belinda Woolcock 6-2 6-3, while former top 10 player and Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard defeated Australia’s top ranked qualifier, Maddison Inglis 6-3 6-1 to move through to the final round. It was better news for Destanee Aiava who proceeded through following victory over Russian 16th seed, Varvara Flink 6-3 6-7 6-4. In other results, 11th seed Stefanie Voegele set up a final round showdown with 20th seed Monica Niculescu, with the pair reaching career high rankings in the past of 42nd and 28th respectively. Former world number 12, Yannick Wickmayer was surprisingly bundled out by 31st seed and 19-year-old American, Ann Li who is at her career high ranking currently of 142nd.

Women’s Round 2:

[1] A. Bogdan [ROU] defeated [WC] B. Woolcock (AUS) 6-2 6-3
[31] A. Li (USA) defeated Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 6-3 6-2
S. Rogers (USA) defeated [8] A. Bolsova (ESP) 6-4 6-3
[30] C. Dolehide (USA) defeated O. Govortsova (BLR) 6-3 6-4
M. Trevisan (ITA) defeated [9] Y. Bonaventure (BEL) 6-0 6-2
E. Bouchard (CAN) defeated [21] M. Inglis (AUS) 6-3 6-1
[11] S. Voegele (SUI) defeated D. Satralova (CZE) 3-6 6-1 6-2
[20] M. Niculescu (ROU) defeated V. Tomova (BLR)
[12] L. Samsonova (RUS) defeated H. Baptise (USA) 1-6 6-2 6-2
[24] X. Wang (CHN) defeated M. Osorio Serrano (COL) 6-1 6-4
E. Cocciaretto (ITA) defeated [14] F. Di Lorenzo (USA) 6-3 6-1
[23] T. Martincova (CZE) defeated V. Savinykh (RUS) 6-1 5-7 6-4
H. Dart (GBR) defeated [15] N. Gibbs (USA) 6-2 6-3
G. Gatto-Monticone (ITA) defeated M. Di Giuseppe (ITA) 6-3 6-3
D. Aiava (AUS) defeated [16] V. Flink (RUS) 6-1 6-7 6-4
A. Lottner (GER) defeated C. Muramatsu (JPN) 6-3 5-7 6-2


[2] N. Hibino (JPN) defeated E. Liang (TAI) 6-1 4-6 6-3
Y. Yuan (CHN) defeated S. Murray Sharan (GBR) 2-6 6-4 6-2
L. Arruabarrena (ESP) defeated I. De Vroome (NED) 6-3 6-3
Y. Naito (JPN) defeated [26] A. Friedsam (GER) 6-3 7-5
[3] V. Gracheva (RUS) defeated C. Pacquet (FRA) 6-2 6-1
O. Danilovic (SRB) defeated J. Jovic (SRB) 3-6 6-3 7-6
J. Larsson (SWE) defeated U. Radwanska (POL) 6-3 6-1
[29] M. Minella (NED) defeated J. Ponchet (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[4] K. Zavatska (UKR) defeated S. Ma (CHN) 6-3 0-6 6-2
S. Vickery (USA) defeated G. Ce (BRA) 6-0 6-1
V. Lepchenko (USA) defeated B. Eraydin (TUR) 6-1 6-1
A. Bondar (HUN) vs. [19] B. Krejcikova (CZE) 2-2 SUS
[5] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated S. Errani (ITA) 6-2 1-6 6-2
L. Paar (ROU) defeated I. Bara (ROU) 7-6 6-2
[6] N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS) defeated M. Kostyuk (UKR) 7-5 6-2
I. Shinikova (BLR) defeated M. Chwalinska (POL) 6-0 7-5
[WC] S. Sanders (AUS) defeated R. Anderson (USA) 6-2 6-0
[18] K. Juvan (SLO) defeated E. Gorgodze (GEO) 6-2 6-3
L. Fernandez (CAN) defeated [7] P. Tig (ROU) 6-2 6-3
M. Hibi (JPN) defeated M. Frech (POL) 6-2 4-6 6-4
[10] C. McNally (USA) defeated A. Muhammad (USA) 6-4 0-6 6-2
D. Lopatetska (UKR) defeated C. Perrin (SUI) 6-2 6-2
N. Parrizas Diaz (ESP) defeated [WC] O. Rogowska (AUS) 6-4 6-2
E. Ruse (ROU) defeated [22] U. Arconada (USA) 6-7 7-5 6-4
[13] G. Minnen (BEL) defeated K. McPhee (AUS) 6-3 2-6 6-3
F. Xun (CHN) defeated [WC] J. Fourlis (AUS) 6-7 6-3 6-4

Australian Open: Qualifying – Round 1 – Highest ranked Aussie Inglis to face Bouchard in second round

PLAYERS desperate to earn one of 16 spots in the main draw of the Australian Open kicked off their campaign yesterday with the first half of the Round 1 qualifying matches taking place. With poor air quality around the entire state including Melbourne Park, it made it tough for players who fought through for the most part despite a number of retirements or forced breaks.

In the men’s draw, 10 of the 16 seeds advanced through to the second round, with the biggest upset coming from Australian, Aleksandar Vukic. The 273rd ranked 23-year old from Sydney knocked off 11th seed and 113th ranked Italian, Thomas Fabbiano. Arguably more remarkably, 512th ranked Blake Mott shined on his home court, running out a straights sets winner over 27th seed and former top 100 player, Portugal’s Pedro Sousa. Other Australians who won included Max Purcell and Luke Saville, while it was the end of the road for former top 20 player Bernard Tomic, bowing out in straight sets to seventh seed, United States’ Denis Kudla. Jason Kubler and Matt Ebden also departed the first round of qualifying, along with wildcards, Harry Bourchier and Tristan Schoolkate who went down to seeded opponents.

Also out of the running for an Australian Open spot were the likes of Israel’s Dudi Sela, Slovakia’s Martin Klizan and Slovenia’s Blaz Rola, with the latter copping Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round, a 34-year old veteran who reached as high as 31st in the world rankings back in 2010. Names to keep an eye on as they run to the main draw include Italian Pablo Lorenzi (career high 34th), with the 12th seed almost unfairly playing unseeded Lukas Rosol (career high 26) with both more than capable of causing headaches for opponents despite now being 38 and 34 years of age respectively. Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis might be sitting at a lowly 254th in the world rankings, but who could forget when he reached the top 10 back in 2014, on the back of a couple of titles in France. He has not won a title since, but is far too good to be playing through qualifying.

In today’s matches, number one seed Austrian Dennis Novak starts his road to the main draw against consistent German, Dustin Brown, while Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen – seeded second – will take on Australian talent Rinky Hijkata. In the value basket of players more than worthy of an automatic main draw spot but for one reason or another find themslves low down the order are Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Kimmer Coppejans, France’s Nicolas Mahut and ninth seed, Japan’s Go Soeda. Akira Santillan will lead the Australian charge on Day 2, taking on France’s Quentin Halys, with just he and Hijkata left to play their first round matches.

Men’s Day 1 Results:

[7] D. Kudla (USA) defeated B. Tomic (AUS) 7-6 6-3
[10] N. Gombos (SVK) defeated J. Ficovich (ARG) 6-4 6-1
[WC] A. Vukic (AUS) defeated [11] T. Fabbiano (ITA) 7-6 6-4
[12] P. Lorenzi (ITA) defeated A. Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) 6-3 6-3
[13] G. Mager (ITA) defeated M. Ebden (AUS) 7-5 6-4
M. Janvier (FRA) defeated [14] A. Hoang (FRA) 7-6 6-7 6-1
[15] F. Coria (ARG) defeated R. Ramanathan 4-6 6-4 6-1
[16] P. Gojowczyk (GER) defeated T. Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-4 6-2
[17] P. Gunneswaran (IND) defeated [WC] H. Bourchier (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[19] J. Jung (TAI) defeated D. Young (USA) 6-4 6-7 6-1
[26] K. Kovalik (SVK) defeated T. Kamke (GER) 6-1 7-6
[WC] B. Mott (AUS) defeated [27] P. Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-4
Z. Li (CHN) defeated [28] D. Sela (ISR) 7-6 5-3 RET
[29] J. Varillas (PER) defeated [WC] T. Schoolkate (AUS) 2-6 7-5 7-5
P. Krstin (SRB) defeated [30] M. Klizan (SVK) 6-3 6-2
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) defeated [31] B. Rola (SLO) 7-6 6-4
I. Ivashka (BLR) defeated L. Broady (GBR) 6-3 6-0
J. Domingues (POR) defeated M. Moraing (GER) 7-6 6-3
M. Purcell (AUS) defeated A. Collarini (ARG) 7-6 6-7 6-4
R. Marcora (ITA) defeated L. Lacko (SVK) 6-3 6-2
F. Ferreira Silva (POR) defeated J. Nam (KR) 2-6 6-4 6-4
M. Bachinger (GER) defeated [WC] J. Kubler (AUS) 7-5 7-5
D. Galan (COL) defeated F. Baldi (ITA) 6-1 6-2
L. Rosol (CZE) defeated T. Lamasine (FRA) 6-4 6-3
P. Martinez (ESP) defeated J. Lenz (GER) 6-0 6-1
[WC] L. Saville (AUS) defeated M. Torpegaard (AUT) 6-3 6-3
M. Viola (ITA) defeated N. Kuhn (ESP) 4-6 6-3 3-1 RET
A. Tabilo (CHI) defeated B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) 7-6 2-6 6-3
E. Gulbis (LAT) defeated M. Cressy (USA) 6-3 6-3
Y. Hanfmann (GER) defeated C. Taberner (ESP) 7-6 6-1
B. Kavcic (SLO) defeated J. Clarke (GBR) 7-6 3-6 6-2
C. Lestienne (FRA) defeated B. Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-3 1-6 7-5

Looking at the women’s first round of qualifying, 14 of the 16 seeds made it through unscathed, with only Germany’s Antonia Lottner smashing 17th seed, Katarzyna Kawa from Poland 6-2 6-1, while United States’ Whitney Osuigwe – seeded 26th – went down to Italian, Martina Di Giuseppe, 3-6 6-4 6-1. Russian 12th seed, Liudmila Samsonova had the easiest match of the day, breezing through with a 6-1 6-0 rout of China’s Lu Jia-Jing. Elsewhere, number one seed, Ana Bogdan moved through to the next round after downing Australian wildcard, Ivana Popovic, while Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele and Romania’s Monica Niculescu – both former top 50 players – are on track to face off in the third round for a spot in the main draw.

From the Australian point of view, 21st seed Maddison Inglis made it through in an absolute epic contest, winning 6-3 0-6 7-6 with the final tiebreaker going to 19-17 before she could move through against Slovakian Rebecca Sramkova. Now Inglis faces a huge task in former world number five Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard – now ranked 211th in the world. Belinda Woolcock takes on Bogdan in an equally tough match after downing countrywoman and fellow wildcard, Olivia Tjandramulia easily, 6-0 6-3. A couple of Australians were also bundled out with Abbie Myers and Ellen Perez both out after tough first round draws.

Bouchard is clearly the standout player to watch given her fall from the heights that saw her an established top 10 player despite only winning one title. Along with Bogdan, Voegele and Niculescu, there is plenty of talent capable of upsetting a top 100 player in the main draw, while Nicole Gibbs is also a confident player after her run at Limoges last month, making it through to the next round.

Second seed Japan’s Nao Hibino begins her campaign today, with a number of enthralling contests. From a home court point of view, Storm Sanders will lead the Australian charge, taking on American Robin Anderson, while Kaylah McPhee has the toughest draw against 13th seed Belgian Greet Minnen. Jaimee Fourlis is the other Australian out on court today, taking on China’s Xun Fang Ying. Some matches to watch include Italian Sara Errani taking on fifth seed Russian, Anna Kalinskaya who it is fair to say would be shaking her head at copping a former top five player in the first round of qualifying. Poland’s Urszula Radwanska (career high 29th) and Sweden’s Johanna Larsson (20th) battling it out on Court 10 is a must-watch for a first round of qualifying.

Women’s Day 1 Results:

[1] A. Bogdan (ROU) defeated [WC] I. Popovic (AUS) 7-6 6-4
[8] A. Bolsova (ESP) defeated P. Ozgen (TUR) 6-2 6-3
[9] Y. Bonaventure (BEL) defeated [WC] D. Parry (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[11] S. Voegele (SUI) defeated D. Jakupovic (SLO) 4-6 6-5 RET
[12] L. Samsonova (RUS) defeated J. Lu (CHN) 6-1 6-0
[14] F. Di Lorenzo (USA) defeated J. Grabher (AUT) 6-3 6-2
[15] N. Gibbs (USA) defeated C. Bucsa (ESP) 6-0 2-6 7-5
[16] V. Flink (CZE) defeated O. Dodin (FRA) 7-6 6-3
A. Lottner (GER) defeated [17] K. Kawa (POL) 6-2 6-1
[20] M. Niculescu (ROU) defeated A. Kalinina (UKR) 7-6 6-2
[21] M. Inglis (AUS) defeated R. Sramkova (SVK) 6-3 0-6 7-6
[23] T. Martincova (CZE) defeated A. Krunic (SRB) 6-1 6-1
[24] X. Wang (CHN) defeated R. Hogenkamp (NED) 6-3 6-2
M. Di Giuseppe (ITA) defeated [26] W. Osuigwe (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-1
[30] C. Dolehide (USA) defeated M. Bolvadze (GEO) 6-3 6-2
[31] A. Li (USA) defeated M. Sherif (IRQ) 6-3 7-5
[WC] B. Woolcock (AUS) defeated [WC] O. Tjandramulia (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Y. Wickmayer (BEL) [WC] E. Perez (AUS) 7-6 6-1
S. Rogers (USA) defeated M. Barthel (GER) 6-4 6-0
O. Govortsova (BLR) defeated [WC] A. Myers (AUS) 7-5 7-5
M. Trevisan (ITA) defeated J. Cristian (ROU) 6-2 6-2
E. Bouchard (CAN) defeated X. You (CHN) 4-6 7-6 6-1
D. Satralova (CZE) defeated X. Han (CHN) 6-2 6-1
V. Tomova (BUL) defeated A. Raina (IND) 6-2 7-6
H. Baptiste (USA) defeated K. Okamura (JPN) 6-1 6-4
M. Osorio Serano (COL) defeated N. Kostic (SRB) 2-6 6-1 6-1
E. Cocciaretto (ITA) defeated B. Schoofs (NED) 6-7 7-5 6-3
V. Savinykh (RUS) defeated N. Bains (GBR) 6-2 6-2
H. Dart (GBR) defeated E. Kostova (BLR) 6-4 6-1
G. Gatto-Monticone (ITA) defeated F. Liu (CHN) 6-2 6-0
D. Aiava (AUS) defeated K. Rakhimova (RUS) 6-4 6-2
C. Muramatsu (JPN) defeated M. Melnikova (RUS) 6-1 5-7 6-4

Rodionova and Smith book Wildcard spots at Aus Open

ARINA Rodionova and John-Patrick Smith have booked their ticket to the Australian Open with wins in their respective Wildcard Playoff draws at Melbourne Park over the past week. The wins meant the pair does not need to go through qualifying, sparing them at least three matches in what is predicted to be scorching Melbourne heat.

Rodionova earned her Wildcard spot in the Australian Open after triumphing in the final over Storm Sanders, 6-4 7-5. The number four seed entered the tournament as one of the favourites to take it out, only dropping the one set – to seventh seed Belinda Woolcock – on her way to victory. Once ranked as high as 116th in the WTA Tour Rankings from October 23, 2017, Rodionova is currently ranked 203rd. Rodionova spent most of the year playing 125K or ITF events, earning a spot in Wimbledon’s main draw after making it through qualifying but dropping her first round match to American, Taylor Townsend. Having lost in the opening round of qualifying at her home Grand Slam, the Russian-born 30-year-old will be keen to make an impact in the main draw after a strong performance across the Wildcard Playoff.

Sixth seed, Smith was a similar story, only dropping one set on his way to the Wildcard Playoff win against third seed, Max Purcell. Smith won 6-3 6-4 6-1 in the final, having also only dropped six games for the entire match against eighth seed Maverick Banes in the semi-finals. Smith is currently ranked 308th in the world, with his career high topping at 108th in September, 2015. The 30-year-old did not play an official ATP Tour match in 2019, having won five from a total of 24 over the years. His best result came in the first round of qualifying, when he was drawn against Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut and knocked off the big server, 6-3 6-4. While he did not play a main draw Grand Slam match last season, Smith now is guaranteed at least one, with his spot assured at Melbourne Park.

The first round of the Australian Open starts on January 20.