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.

Jason Kubler and Max Purcell have bolstered Australia’s already strong Wimbledon men’s singles presence to nine after winning their way through qualifying.

Zoe Hives also advanced to the women’s draw after compatriot Priscilla Hon withdrew ahead of their final round matchup due to food poisoning, while Astra Sharma and Jaimee Fourlis followed shortly after.

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 and book a place at Wimbledon for the third time.

It will be Hives’ world No. 572 first Grand Slam appearance outside of Australia after reaching round 2 at Melbourne Park in 2019 and overcoming a debilitating circulatory disorder that stalled his 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.

Three Australian women had not qualified for Wimbledon in the same year since 1989, with Maddison Inglis, who plays Serbian Natalija Stevanovic, trying to make it to fourth.

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 and Fourlis are the five Australians competing in the women’s singles, plus 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 and Jaimee Fourlis qualify for Wimbledon

Leave a Comment