Birrell building in Perth
Qualifier Kimberly Birrell among four Australians entering the last 16 at the Perth Tennis International #1.
Kimberly Birrell has strung together an impressive four consecutive wins to move through qualifying and into the second round at the Perth Tennis International #1.
The Queensland teenager – continuing her return from injury – defeated wildcard Naiktha Bains in straight sets 6-4 6-3 on Wednesday after taking care of in-form Alexandra Bozovic in the last round of qualifying.
“I think it worked in my favour getting a few matches under my belt in quallies and getting used to the conditions here in Perth,” Birrell said. “I haven’t played here in a couple of years now.”
“The more matches I play in a row the better my serve and return becomes. I think that’s always true for me,” she added. I feel like I’ve played myself into some pretty decent form.”
Birrell next plays French No.6 seed Myrtille Georges to book a quarterfinal berth, where a likely opponent is top seed Eri Hozumi of Japan, the world No.167.
Hozumi is no stranger to Australia, having won the ITF $25,000 event in Toowoomba last year.
“This year, my goal is just to get as matches in as possible, so I’m really happy I get to play again tomorrow, especially here in Australia,” Birrell said. “I may not be in Queensland, but I still feel at home.”
“I will play all of these (Australian Pro Tour events) and then just see where my ranking is at.” The current world No.355 said. “I don’t have any points to defend so that’s exciting. I’m just really pumped for this whole year.”
Elsewhere, Wollongong’s Ellen Perez made safe passage into the second round with a win over Japanese qualifier Himari Sato but will face stiff competition next round when she comes up against Russian second seed Irina Kromacheva, who brushed aside Queensland qualifier Olivia Tjamdramulia.
Local wildcard Maddison Inglis posted an impressive win on Tuesday, ousting the No.7 seed from Croatia, Tereza Mrdeza, in straight sets. She must now contend with Russian Valeria Savinykh.
The highest ranked Aussie in the field, Jamiee Fourlis (No.188), returns to Perth having won this event as a qualifier two years ago. After breezing through her opening round, she next faces Japan’s Ayano Shimizu.