Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 10 January 2021 | Leigh Rogers

A young and exciting contingent of Aussie women are hoping to qualify for Australian Open 2021.

Presenting our Aussie hopes …

Ellen Perez, 25, New South Wales
Already a top 50-ranked doubles player, Perez is determined to better her current singles ranking of No.235. This is her fourth appearance in Australian Open qualifying – and first as a direct entry, highlighting her recent improvement. The left-handed Perez, who qualified for three WTA singles events in 2020, has previously contested two Grand Slam main draws – the US Open in 2016 and Australian Open in 2019, both as wildcards. After proving her resilience to make 2020 a career-best season, Perez wants to maintain her momentum with a strong start to the new season.
First-round opponent: World No.151 Caroline Dolehide (USA)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> READ: Ellen Perez – creating opportunity

Seone Mendez, 21, New South Wales
After achieving a career-high ranking of No.264 in September 2020, Mendez has been rewarded with an Australian Open 2021 qualifying wildcard. The 21-year-old, a former Australian Junior Fed Cup representative, is making her Grand Slam-level debut. Mendez proved her potential in 2019, winning seven ITF titles from eight final appearances. The clay-loving Mendez is based in Spain and was able to compete in Europe when the tour resumed last season. Her ranking is presently No.277.
First-round opponent: World No.237 Marie Benoit (BEL)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

Storm Sanders, 26, Western Australia
Scoring a first AO qualifying win, as well as posting her best WTA-level result since 2014, were early 2020 highlights for Sanders. After returning to singles in late 2019, the left-handed Sanders has quickly rebuilt her ranking. However she focused primarily on doubles when the tour resumed in August last year, making her US Open and Roland Garros debuts and rose to a career-high No.62. Currently ranked No.283 in singles, this is an exciting chance for Sanders to prove her game matches up against the world’s best. Sanders’ showdown with top-seeded Juvan is a rematch of an AO 2020 second round qualifying match, which the Aussie lost in three sets.
First-round opponent: World No.104 Kaja Juvan (SLO)
Head-to-head record: Juvan leads 1-0

> READ: Qualifying draws set for Australian Open 2021

Abbie Myers, 26, New South Wales
“Never give up” is Myers’ mantra – and in her fifth Australian Open qualifying appearance, it is more apt than ever. The 26-year-old took an eight-month break from the sport in 2017 and started a corporate job, which only reignited her desire to continue chasing her tennis dreams. After reaching three quarterfinals on the Australian Pro Tour in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic quelled Myers’ building form. The world No.322 is excited to be travelling and competing again – and has her sights set on a first Grand Slam-level win. Her first-round opponent is a former world No.5 and the Wimbledon 2014 finalist.
First-round opponent: World No.141 Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

Ivana Popovic, 20, New South Wales
In her Grand Slam qualifying debut at Australian Open 2020 last summer, Popovic drew top seed Ana Bogdan in the opening round. She lost her first career meeting against a top 100-ranked opponent, but a fortnight later defeated world No.91 Sara Sorribes Tormo in an Australian Pro Tour tournament in Burnie. It was one of many new highs for Popovic last year, who rose to a career-high ranking of No.354 in August. A wildcard entry, Popovic is currently ranked No.362. She takes on a former world No.23, who is returning from injury, in the first round.
First-round opponent: World No.146 Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2021 women’s singles qualifying draw

Alexandra Bozovic, 21, New South Wales
Bozovic won 28 of the 34 matches she contested during the UTR Pro Tennis Series in 2020 and claimed a series-leading six titles. She scored her best career victory during the series, recording a first top-150 win against Lizette Cabrera. Bozovic’s improvement and consistent results have been rewarded with an Australian Open 2021 qualifying wildcard. The world No.454 is making her second appearance in an AO qualifying draw, having made her Grand Slam qualifying debut in 2019.
First-round opponent: World No.110 Greet Minnen (BEL)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> READ: Aussie men ready for AO 2021 qualifying

Olivia Gadecki, 18, Queensland
Gadecki made the third round of the Australian Open 2020 girls’ singles draw. This year she is a wildcard in the women’s singles qualifying draw. The Gold Coast teen, who idolises Serena Williams, showed impressive form in 2020. She collected four titles and 22 wins at the UTR Pro Tennis Series in Brisbane. Several top-150 wins were highlights, performances that are sure to provide extra confidence as the unranked Gadecki makes her Grand Slam qualifying debut in Dubai this week.
First-round opponent: World No.246 Lara Salden (BEL)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz, 16, South Australia
Making her Grand Slam qualifying debut, Kempenaers-Pocz is one of the youngest in the draw. The 16-year-old has had a taste of competing at this level, competing in Adelaide International qualifying last summer. The big-hitting teen also took part in the UTR Pro Tennis Series in 2020 and scored wins against more experienced peers Ellen Perez and Priscilla Hon. Kempenaers-Pocz won the 18 and under Australian Championships in 2019, emulating world No.1 Ash Barty in winning the national title as a 15-year-old.
First-round opponent: World No.139 Viktoriya Tomova (BUL)
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> VIEW: Australian Open 2021 qualifying day one order of play

To follow all the qualifying action live from Dubai this week, visit the official Australian Open website.