EBDEN, BIRRELL FALL IN FINAL ROUND OF AO QUALIFYING

Australia's last two remaining hopes to qualify for the Australian Open main draw have fallen at the final hurdle at Melbourne Park on Friday.

Kimberly Birrell was first out on Show Court 3 on Friday morning, facing the tough task of British No. 11 seed Harriet Dart.


Birrell, who has barely been able to hit the court since reaching the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 was the last remaining hope of an Aussie qualifier on the women's side. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed as she suffered a 3-6, 3-6 defeat in one hour and 45 minutes.


The Aussie was impressive at the net, winning 8/8 net points, but hit 36 unforced errors and won just 40% of points on her first serve in the defeat.


Later in the day, the last remaining Aussie hope on the men's side, Matthew Ebden took to the court.

In an incredibly gruelling three hour 34 minute encounter, Ebden came up second best to Slovak No. 2 seed Norbert Gombos 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-7(8).


The crowd was loud, for both players. Behind the chair umpire sat a loud group of Gombos fans, who got behind their man and provided him with the energy needed to stay alive and snatch the match. On the other side of the net, a rowdy group of Aussies who were louder than the Slovak's, and evidently trying to will Ebden over the line, but to no avail.


The Aussie had his chances, serving for the match at *5-4 in the second set and once again at *5-3 in the third, but the resilient Slovak used the energy of the raucous crowd to will himself over the line.