COURT 13 SEES AN AUSSIE BREAKTHROUGH AND THE KING OF CLAY ON TUESDAY AT MELBOURNE PARK


20-year-old Australian Rinky Hijikata scored a significant breakthrough on Tuesday at Melbourne Park, saving a match point en route to qualifying for his maiden ATP Tour main draw.


In the second match of the day on Court 13, New South Welshman Hijikata came from a set and a break down, saving a match point to defeat World No. 98 Henri Laaksonen 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4, booking his place in the Melbourne Summer Set main draw.


The win is Hiijkata's first against a top 100 player and supports why he is so highly-rated by Australian coaches and fellow players.


Speaking of highly-rated Aussie youngsters - there was a battle between two in the final round of qualifying on the women's side.


Destanee Aiva - who was once touted as a future top 10 prospect looks to have put a rough 2021 campaign behind her in qualifying for her fourth WTA main draw and her first since 2019.


Aiva overpowered 16-year-old Australian Taylah Preston 6-4, 6-4 in a tight battle on Court 12, and reminded those in attendance of her immense talent.


Fellow Australian Kim Birrell continued her return to the tour but was unable to join Aiava in the main draw, going down to Dutchwoman Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 4-6, 4-6.


In main draw action on Tuesday, Australian Arina Rodionova fought hard but went down to Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse 3-6, 2-6.


Later in the day, Rafael Nadal graced Court 13 in a once in a lifetime opportunity for spectators to see the King of Clay compete on an outside court at Melbourne Park or any tournament for that matter.


Fans from all over Melbourne Park flocked to Court 13 to get a glimpse of Rafa in action.


Nadal teamed up with fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar and advanced to the second round of the doubles main draw with a 6-3, 3-6, 10-4 win over Argentinian duo Sebastian Baez and Tomas Martin Etcheverry.


On the doubles court, No. 1 seeds Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-sets win.


Aussie Monique Adamczak and partner Xinyun Han also advanced, and will now meet the No. 1 seeds in the quarters.