Bendigo, VIC, 6 January 2020 | Asher Packman

Alison Bai has arrived in Bendigo to play her ‘home’ tournament after the Apis Canberra International was relocated due to ongoing bushfire activity.

“It’s nice to actually breathe properly,” the 29-year-old wildcard said on arrival from the capital. “It hasn’t been the best prep for me in the fact that I haven’t been able to do any training. Can’t get on court and even in the gym the smoke has been getting in and you can’t anything too intensely.”

While the home ground advantage may be missing, Bai is happy enough to be back in Bendigo. “Obviously, I’ve been coming here for so long that I know the people anyway, I know the town,” she said. “But it’s a different vibe, and I had a lot of family and friends who were planning to come and watch me, so it’s a bit different in that it’s more neutral.”

Bai continued her success on the doubles court in 2019, ending the year at a career-high world No.128. “If you told me that would happen this time last year I would have been like ‘Are you joking?’,” she laughed. “Every year kind of catches me by surprise. The beginning of last year I had a really good summer, qualified for Hobart and won a doubles round at the Australian Open. Then went on to have a good year.

“My tennis is getting better. I’ve got more experience, I know my body a little more and how to do things a bit better.”

With no Australian entrant ranked highly enough to gain direct access to the main draw, Bai is joined by fellow wildcard and doubles partner Jaimee Fourlis, Olivia Rogowska and Belinda Woolcock. Bai faces Poland’s Magdalena Frech in the opening round, while Fourlis plays Hungarian Reka-Luca Jani.

Rogowska and Woolcock play Jessika Ponchet of France and Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze respectively.

A number of Australians were also in qualifying action with Alexandra Bozovic, Noelleda Ah San and Gabriella Da Silva Fick still in contention for a main draw berth.

Live scores of all Australian Pro Tour events are available through and for a live stream of selected events visit For updates, follow @oztennisresults on Twitter.