Bains targeting first Slam main draw
The No.4 seed in this week's AO Play-off draw, Aussie young gun Naiktha Bains is primed for a strong performance after an intense training block.
Naiktha Bains comes into the Australian Open Play-off as prepared as she’s ever been.
The 17-year-old Queenslander is the fourth seed at next week’s play-off and will take to the court after a four-week training block – one of which was a Fed Cup training camp held at Melbourne Park.
“I always love a good training block, I get to work with my physical trainer and get strong, physically fit and ready. So I’m feeling good,” said Bains, who opens against Michaela Haet.
“It was such a good experience to hit with Sam Stosur and players like that … to see what the girls do training-wise during the pre-season and to see how they get ready for tournaments. It was such a learning experience to see what the top players in Australia do.”
Arina Rodionova, who has drawn Belinda Woolcock in her first-round match, is the top seed in a wide-open women’s play-off field.
Rodionova reached last year’s final but experienced a somewhat interrupted campaign – between her semifinal and final was her wedding day.
Alison Bai – who begins against Angelique Svinos – is the second seed while 18/u finalist Jaimee Fourlis is seeded No.3. Fourlis, just 17, kicks off her tournament against Viktorija Rajicic.
Bains, who has contested the wildcard play-off the past two years and who reached the semifinals on both occasions, said she had a good feeling about her third appearance in the event.
“I’m pretty confident. I’m always thinking I have a good chance to win. I’ll just go out and play my game and see what happens really. Go out, compete, and have fun,” she said.
“It would be unreal to play the main draw of a Slam, especially the Australian Open. I’ve played the quallies here the last few years but to play the main draw would be really good.
“I played (Michaela) last year in the 18s Nationals … she’s a good competitor, works hard and she’ll make you work for it, so it’ll be a good match.”
Also appearing in the field is defending champion Maddison Inglis, who has drawn seventh seed Sara Tomic – a player she beat just last week in the 18/u event.
Wollongong’s Ellen Perez, a US college player who in August won a play-off between Aussie women for a US Open main draw wildcard, returns to home soil in a bid to repeat her feat.
Perez plays sixth seed Olivia Tjandramula, with the winner booking a likely date with Rodionova in the quarters.
For more information visit the December Showdown tournament page.