Tennis: Qualifiers boost Australia’s presence at Wimbledon

Australia is guaranteed a strong individual presence at Wimbledon next week after several players qualified for the grass-court Grand Slam.

Six more Australians have made their way into the Wimbledon draw in a successful day for the country’s fringe and emerging players.

Jason Kubler and Max Purcell were the first to qualify, bolstering Australia’s already strong men’s singles presence at Wimbledon to nine before their female compatriots took center stage in Roehampton.

Zoe Hives received a free pass when her compatriot Priscilla Hon withdrew from their final round matchup due to food poisoning, while Astra Sharma, Jaimee Fourlis and Maddison Inglis also booked their places.

Sharma bounced back from losing the first four games to 16-year-old sensation Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva to prevail 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the main draw for the third time.

It will be World No.572 Hives’ first grand slam appearance outside of Australia after reaching Round 2 at Melbourne Park in 2019 and overcoming a debilitating circulatory disorder that stalled her career.

Fourlis had to avoid match points in her first-round qualifying match but had no such problems this time, beating France’s Jessika Ponchet 6-4, 6-4 to cap the best season of her career.

Four Australian women had not qualified for Wimbledon in the same year since 1983, but Maddison Inglis ended that drought when she beat Natalija Stevanovic of Serbia 7-6(7-2), 2-6, 6-2.

Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam left for Inglis to reach the main draw, and the World No.129’s qualifying effort follows a career-best run to the third round of the Australian Open in January.

Kubler has now qualified at back-to-back Grand Slams after reaching the second round at this year’s French Open, while Purcell will make her Wimbledon debut.

It is the second year in a row that two Australian men have qualified for Wimbledon, after Chris O’Connell and Marc Polmans achieved the feat in 2021.

World No. 98 Kubler needed three sets to battle it out in each of his first two qualifying matches at nearby Roehampton, but he was more emphatic in beating Sweden’s Elias Ymer 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in just two hours.

The second seed also qualified for Wimbledon in 2018 and has struggled to return to the top 100 in recent weeks.

It was tougher for Purcell, who rallied from repeated deficits throughout their match to edge past 122nd-ranked rival Nuno Borges 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-5). ) and book your All England. club place.

The 24-year-old made the sacrifice of not defending his Eastbourne semi-final points last year to pursue his Wimbledon dream even though there were no points on the line at the 2022 event.

But Rinky Hijikata couldn’t match the feat of Kubler and Purcell, falling from a 5-1 lead in the third set to lose 6-4 3-6 7-5 7-6(7-4) to Germany’s Nicola Kuhn.

Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and John Millman won direct entry to the men’s singles draw.

Hives, Sharma, Fourlis and Inglis were the six Australians who competed in the women’s singles, in addition to Ajla Tomljanovic and wild card winner Daria Saville.

Singles draws will take place on Friday night (AEST time) with matches kicking off on Monday.

Originally published as Tennis: Aussies Jason Kubler, Max Purcell, Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma, Jaimee Fourlis and Maddison Inglis qualify for Wimbledon

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