12 January 2017 | Alex Sharp

It was the women’s turn to kick-start their quest for a place in the Australian Open main draw and home fans enjoyed a host of patriotic performances at Melbourne Park.

Ellen Perez made the green and gold proud with a miraculous first-round qualifying win over world No.193 Tadeja Majeric.

The 21-year-old, making her singles debut at the Australian Open, canvassed the net to great effect (winning 18 of 24 points) and defied her ranking of No.630 to secure a 6-3 1-6 7-5 triumph.

Majeric looked to have stolen the initiative with an early break in the hour-long decider, however Perez wielded her ferocious forehand to restore parity when the Slovenian was serving for the match.

A hold to love then set up the platform for Perez to clinch a memorable win and a place in the second round where she will take on Romanian 11th seed Ana Bogdan.

Olivia Rogowska put in a monumental display to clinch a marathon 2-6 6-2 11-9 win over 21st seed Cindy Burger.

Melbourne’s very own, ranked at No.276, struggled to adapt to the Dutchwoman’s game in a comprehensive opener. However Rogowska started the second set with an instant break, which seemed to inspire a gruelling comeback.

Burger, at a high ranking of world No.141, was far from deterred and cancelled out a 2-0 lead for the home favourite in the third set to prolong the contest.

At 3-4 Rogowska attacked the lines and staved off triple break points as neither player would back down. After two and half hours it was the Aussie who stole the decisive break to edge over the first hurdle having won just three more points (128) than Burger (125).

Naiktha Bains illustrated her burgeoning potential despite falling to Russia’s Ksenia Lykina in three tight sets 4-6 7-6(3) 7-5.

The Australian teenager was too consistent for the world No.199 to take the opening set. Bains struck 30 winner and 12 aces in total, but it was Lykina who managed to steal the second set tiebreak before sealing victory with the pivotal break at 5-5 in the decider.

Storm Sanders, ranked at No.294, threatened an upset against Canadian rising star Francoise Abanda, who won their only previous meeting in 2015.

Sanders was unfazed by Abanda’s superior No.173 ranking as the returner was on top in the first set, until the Melbourne resident served out the opener with aplomb.

That seemed to click the Canadian into gear and the teenager never looked back, rattling off 26 winners and clinically taking her break opportunities to eventually clinch a 3-6 6-2 6-1 win.

Tackling a player 408 ranking positions above was a daunting prospect, but a challenge that Abbie Myers thrived under.

Myers, currently No.595, split the first two sets with Amra Sadikovic before the Swiss dominated on serve to break twice in the decider for a 6-4 3-6 6-1 passage into the second round.

Brighton resident Tammi Patterson had a tough task to tackle in the form of 12th seed Lin Zhu.

The 27-year-old carved out five break opportunities but Zhu’s 22 winners powered the Chinese to the second round 6-2 6-1.