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WHICH AUSSIES CAN HELP BREAK OUR AO QUALIFYING DRY SPELL?


Twenty-eight Aussies have been placed across the 2023 Australian Open men’s and women’s qualifying draws – the equal most in a decade – each seeking to book their place in the main draw.

 

Fifteen men and thirteen women will be looking to join exclusive company by reaching the main draw – a feat which few Aussies have managed over the past ten years.

 

Since 2013, just 6/211 Aussies have won all three matches and reached the main draw.

 

5/119 on the men’s side and 1/92 on the women’s side.

 

2022 qualifying saw fourteen men and fourteen women in action with none able to earn a main draw berth – whilst the 2021 event was held in Doha due to measures surrounding Covid-19, with only Bernard Tomic progressing among Australians.

 

So, which locals can fly the flag this week and become the first Aussies to qualify at Melbourne Park since 2020?

 

Men’s side:

 

Aleks Vukic enters the draw as the only seeded Aussie and – alongside James Duckworth and Li Tu – will be eager to prove wildcard selectors wrong after not being awarded a place in the main draw.

 

Vukic takes on Canadian Gabriel Diallo first up, with ninth seed Michael Mmoh also in his section, whilst Duckworth and Tu will meet Mikhail Kukushkin and Jozef Kovalik, respectively.

 

Given the form of these three in the latter half of 2022, this trio serves as our best hope of seeing an Aussie added to the main draw line-up.

 

Max Purcell and Omar Jasika, who both qualified directly, will face challenging first round opponents, with Purcell up against second seed Marco Cecchinato and Jasika facing sixth seed Denis Kudla.

 

Alex Bolt and Marc Polmans, both of whom entered qualifying with a protected ranking, will meet Renzo Olivo and Lukas Klein respectively and can both expect hard-fought contests.

 

Tennessee graduate Adam Walton will play his first professional match at a Grand Slam against the experienced Pablo Andujar and Tristan Schoolkate would like his chances of taking down Belgium’s Kimmer Coppejans.

 

Dane Sweeny and Philip Sekulic will be looking to replicate their opening round results from last year’s Australian Open qualifying but have both been pitted against seeds first up. Sweeny will take on Vit Kopriva in a match he can definitely win whilst Sekulic will battle Yosuke Watanuki.

 

Teenagers James McCabe, Edward Winter, Derek Pham, and Jeremy Jin will all face tough tests – taking on Alexandre Muller, Rio Noguchi, Peter Gojowczyk, and Zizou Bergs respectively, as they search for maiden Grand Slam qualifying victories.

 

Women’s side:

 

Priscilla Hon and Maddison Inglis will lead the qualifying charge among our Aussie women, with Hon facing 18-year-old Katrina Scott and Inglis drawn against Kristina Mladenovic.

 

Astra Sharma and Lizette Cabrera will both be confident ahead of their first-round clashes, meeting Katharina Hobgarski and Elina Avanesyan, respectively.

 

22-year-old Destanee Aiava will be the youngest Aussie woman in action and would be content with her first-round opponent in Ipek Oz.

 

Arina Rodionova will begin her eleventh Australian Open qualifying campaign against former top ten player Coco Vandeweghe, while Zoe Hives will meet Harmony Tan.

 

Ellen Perez and Petra Hule will contest the only all-Aussie battle in the opening round, whilst Seone Mendez has drawn thirteenth seed Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

 

Alexandra Bozovic faces the toughest test of any Aussie against rising American Alycia Parks who comes to Melbourne on a ten-match win streak and as the top seed.

 

Wildcards Kaylah McPhee and Elysia Bolton also face difficult challenges against seeds Christina Bucsa and Jodie Burrage, respectively.

 

2023 Australian Open Qualifying action gets underway at Melbourne Park tomorrow and runs through to Thursday, with half of all first-round matches taking places on Monday and the other half on Tuesday.

 

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