Fourteen Aussies to compete on day two of AO 2021 qualifying
It is a big day ahead for our Aussie players in Australian Open 2021 qualifying, with 14 featuring in first-round action.
Three Australian players have advanced to the second round of Australian Open 2021 qualifying so far – and another 14 hope to join them.
Seven Australian women will compete in first-round qualifying matches in Dubai today, with seven Aussie men also on the schedule in Doha.
Storm Sanders is the first Australian in action, with her match scheduled for a 5pm AEDT start. The Western Australian has been handed a tough draw, pitted against top-seeded Slovenian Kaja Juvan.
They have played once before – in the second round of AO 2020 qualifying, where Sanders lost in three sets.
Although the rematch is played in a different location this year (an innovative solution to government-imposed restrictions on the number of players allowed to enter Australia this summer), Sanders is embracing the challenge.
“It’s a Grand Slam, it’s not just any tournament,” says the 26-year-old Sanders of competing in Australian Open qualifying offshore.
“Those opportunities don’t come around very often, (so I’m) very grateful to have the chance to play.”
There are an abundance of exciting matches for Aussie tennis fans to enjoy today – from former world No.17 Bernard Tomic beginning his qualifying campaign, to wildcard Abbie Myers meeting Wimbledon 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard.
John-Patrick Smith, who spent time in 2020 coaching in his home town of Townsville, takes on Italian Paolo Lorenzo – who at 39, is the oldest man in the qualifying draw.
Max Purcell, a 22-year-old from Sydney who qualified at Australian Open 2020, faces Frenchman Hugo Gaston – a promising 20-year-old who beat former champion Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros last year.
Ivana Popovic’s first-round opponent is Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko – a former world No.23 returning from injury and targeting an 11th consecutive AO main draw appearance.
A major milestone also beckons for four Australians, with rising stars Seone Mendez, Olivia Gadecki, Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz and Dane Sweeny all set to make their Grand Slam-level debuts.
Women’s singles, first round – Dubai
[WC] Storm Sanders (AUS) v  Kaja Juvan (SLO), Court 2, first match (5pm AEDT start)
[WC] Alexandra Bozovic (AUS) v  Greet Minnen (BEL), Court 2, second match
[WC] Ivana Popovic (AUS) v  Lesia Tsurenko (UKR), Court 3, second match
[WC] Abbie Myers (AUS) v  Eugenie Bouchard (CAN), Court 1, third match
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Lara Salden (BEL), Court 3, third match
[WC] Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS) v  Viktoriya Tomova (BUL), Court 2, fourth match
[WC] Seone Mendez (AUS) v Marie Benoit (BEL), Court 3, fourth match
Men’s singles, first round – Doha
Andrew Harris (AUS) v Ruben Bemelmans (BEL), Court 3, first match (6.30pm AEDT start)
[WC] Tristan Schoolkate (AUS) v Guido Andreozzi (ARG), Court 4, first match (6.30pm AEDT start)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v  Jozef Kovalik (SVK), Court B, second match
[WC] John-Patrick Smith v  Paolo Lorenzi (ITA), Court 4, second match
[WC] Dane Sweeny (AUS) v Marius Copil (ROU), Court 2, third match
[WC] Harry Bourchier (AUS) v Tallon Griekspoor (NED), Court 3, third match
Max Purcell (AUS) v Hugo Gaston (FRA), Court 4, fourth match
To follow all the qualifying action live, visit the official Australian Open website.