Melbourne, Australia, 3 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #1

Kimberly Birrell has made a sensational tour return at the Melbourne Summer Set.

The Australian wildcard has been sidelined for the past 11 months with injury, but produced an impressive display to defeat world No.112 Martina Trevisan in women’s qualifying singles action at Melbourne Park today.

Birrell recorded a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory in a two-hour and 24-minute battle with the 28-year-old Italian.

The 23-year-old from the Gold Coast, who is currently ranked No.740, was thrilled with her effort.

“I didn’t have any expectations, to be honest. I was just so happy to be out on court,” said Birrell, who had not played a professional match since February 2021.

“I kept telling myself that I deserve to be there and to just take it one point at a time. I knew I’d been playing, what I thought was, a good level for the past few months. So it felt really good to have that translate from practice onto the match court.”

After returning from a right elbow injury last summer, Birrell opted to take some further time off in 2021 after admitting her “arm wasn’t 100 per cent right”.

“I wanted to make sure it was 100 per cent right and unfortunately that took a really long time,” she said.

“It’s been a roller coaster, but I feel really proud to have made it back to this point. Hopefully this year goes a little bit differently.”

Having spent the past few months training intensely in Queensland, Birrell is relishing the challenge of competing again.

“It feels really nice to be at a tournament, training does get a little bit arduous after a while,” she admitted.

“There’s been some tough days, but finally there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m still aware it’s only the first match back. Even though I’m super happy, I know I have another match tomorrow so I can’t let myself get too excited. But I am definitely enjoying the moment.”

Perth teen Taylah Preston is also celebrating after stunning former world No.5 and Roland Garros 2012 finalist Sara Errani in her WTA-level debut today.

The unranked 16-year-old posted a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory against the world No.121-ranked Italian.

Preston now faces another Australian wildcard in the final qualifying round, Destanee Aiava.

The 21-year-old Aiava scored a 7-6(9) 6-4 victory against former world No.12 Wang Qiang today.

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) d [8] Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) d [10] Sara Errani (ITA) 7-5 2-6 6-3
[WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) d [6] Wang Qiang (CHN) 7-6(9) 6-4
[4] Danka Kovinic (MNE) d [WC] Alexandra Osborne (AUS) 6-2 6-1

Women’s qualifying singles, final┬áround
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED)
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) v [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS)

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) v Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU)
[WC] Lizette Cabrera (AUS) v Anastasia Potapova (RUS)
[WC] Seone Mendez (AUS) v Qualifier

> VIEW: Full women’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, first round
[4] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Greet Minnen (BEL) v [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS)/Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
[WC] Gabriella Da Silva-Fick (AUS)/Olivia Tjandramulia (AUS) v Sara Errani (ITA)/Jasmine Paolini (ITA)

Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #2

It was a tough day for Australian players in the Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #2 event, with all crashing out in the opening round of qualifying.

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
[4] Wang Xinyu (CHN) d [WC] Alicia Smith (AUS) 6-2 6-2
[6] Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) d [WC] Olivia Tjandramulia (AUS) 6-2 6-3
[8] Zhu Lin (CHN) d [WC] Gabriella Da Silva-Fick (AUS) 6-0 6-0
[10] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d [WC] Tina Smith (AUS) 6-0 6-0

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) v Rebecca Peterson (SWE)
[WC] Ellen Perez (AUS) v Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP)
[WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) v Qualifier

> VIEW: Full women’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, first round
[1] Sam Stosur (AUS)/Zhang Shuai (CHN) v Natela Dzalamidze (RUS)/Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS)
Monique Adamczak (AUS)/Han Xinyun (CHN) v Nao Hibino (JPN)/Alicja Rosolska (POL)
Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) v Katarzyna Piter (POL)/Renata Voracova (CZE)
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS)
/Viktorija Golubic (SUI) v Irina Bara (ROU)/Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO)
[WC] Alexandra Osborne (AUS)/Taylah Preston (AUS) v Aliona Bolsova (ESP)/Katarzyna Kawa (POL)

Melbourne Summer Set tickets are now on sale, with prices beginning at $19 for main draw matches. Kids can attend for free.

> BUY NOW: Melbourne Summer Set tickets