Australia’s Olivia Gadecki has kicked off her Grand Slam career in style, claiming a 7-5 6-1 victory over Russia’s Polina Kudermetova in her maiden singles main draw appearance.
The World No.199 was instrumental in a tight opening set, dominating on serve and smacking 15 winners past her opponent before clinching the decisive break in the final game.
Speaking after the match, an emotional Gadecki labelled the moment hard to describe.
“Gee, I don't even think I can put it into words,” Gadecki said.
”I've dreamt about it my whole life, and to really live it is just a whole other feeling.”
The second set was more routine for the 20-year-old, who capitalised on her momentum and maintained her service strength by winning 81% of points when hitting a first serve.
She explains that she relies on her serve to get her out of trouble or to give her some confidence throughout a contest.
“My serve is one of my greatest strengths, so to have that when I'm feeling a little bit nervous or anxious out there is always something I really, really like.”
Earning a wildcard into the tournament, Gadecki has taken full advantage of the position by clinching 45 ranking points that will see her skyrocket to around 170 in the world, with a possibility to move even higher.
It has been widely documented that the Queenslander has been mentored by three-time major winner and former No. 1 Ash Barty in recent weeks, and was sent a message by the reigning women’s champion before the match
“She sent me a text after my match, which really meant a lot,” Gadecki said.
“But I'm sure everyone kind of knows she's always been in my corner, and I'm so lucky to have her.
“Whenever I need advice or anything, I'm always able to contact her.”
The Australian will face off against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the second round following her 6-3 6-4 victory over American Amanda Anisimova.
Elsewhere, Gadecki’s fellow wildcard Talia Gibson fell to Frenchwoman Clara Burel 6-3 6-4.