Perth, Australia, 19 February 2019 | Asher Packman

Local favourite and eighth seed Jelena Stojanovic is gearing up for a strong showing at this year’s Perth Tennis International.

“I don’t get home much throughout the year so I feel very fortunate to have a pro tournament in Perth,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s a big thing for me having my family here. I’m feeling good.”

Despite a slightly injury-riddled start to 2019, Stojanovic ended last year on a high, reaching a career-high world ranking inside the world’s top 750 players in mid-December.

“It’s tough to judge where I’m at right now as I didn’t play much in January,” she said. ‘But I think I made seven quarterfinals in a row to finish last year, so I was playing really well. I guess we will see how it goes from here.”

“I’m building momentum and taking it one match at a time. There’s no point in putting pressure on myself, I’m just focusing on the small things to continue improving.”

Stojanovic will face rising teenager Annerly Poulos in the opening round, the 16-year-old from Canberra coming to prominence in the last twelve months with some outstanding results.

“There’s so many great players – the youngsters coming up – so I will need to stay focused on my game,” Stojanovic said.

The top seed in Perth, France’s Irina Ramialison, will face Victorian qualifier Georgiana Ruhrig, while second seed Jennifer Elie – the American a runner-up last week in Port Pirie – takes on Alicia Smith of Tamworth.

Main draw play at the ITF World Tennis Tour $15,000 event begins on Monday at the Perth State Tennis Centre.

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