Melbourne, Australia, 11 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Perth teen Taylah Preston has made a stunning Grand Slam debut, beating former world No.32 Kurumi Nara in the opening round of the Australian Open 2022 qualifying competition.

Currently ranked No.1184 and contesting only her fourth professional tournament, the 16-year-old wildcard produced a fearless display at Melbourne Park today. It took only 91 minutes for Preston to secure the win against the more-experienced world No.189.

Preston overpowered her 30-year-old Japanese opponent, striking 27 winners in an impressive 7-5 6-4 victory.

“This opportunity is a very big one. I want to make use of it and do the best I can do,” Preston explained of her mindset.

It continues a breakout summer for Preston, who was named Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the 2021 Australian Tennis Awards and is the youngest player in this year’s Australian Open qualifying draw. Last week she beat former world No.5 Sara Errani in Melbourne Summer Set qualifying.

“Winning a few matches helps with the confidence,” she said.

Errani loomed as a potential second-round opponent again this week, however the ninth-seeded Italian lost to South Korean Jang Su-jeong today.

Australians Arina Rodionova, Lizette Cabrera, Zoe Hives, Seone Mendez and Jaimee Fourlis also recorded impressive victories today.

> READ: Aussie women rewriting history in AO 2022 qualifying

Rodionova outclassed Switzerland’s Susan Bandecchi in straight sets, while Cabrera survived a three-set test against American Sachia Vickery.

Hives recorded a 7-5 6-0 victory against China’s Han Xinyun in her first competitive appearance since September 2019, while 22-year-old Mendez scored her first Grand Slam-level win by beating Brit Jodie Burrage 5-7 6-1 6-4.

Fourlis claimed a milestone win of her own, claiming her first Australian Open singles victory since reaching the second round as a 17-year-old wildcard in 2017.

The Australian Open 2022 qualifying competition continues across Melbourne Park this week, with no ticket required for vaccinated fans to enjoy the action.

Australian Open 2022

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
[30] Arina Rodionova (AUS) d Susan Bandecchi (SUI) 6-4 6-2
Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 
d Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-2
Seone Mendez (AUS) 
d Jodie Burrage (GBR) 5-7 6-1 6-4
Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) d Irene Burillo Escorihuela (ESP) 7-5 6-2
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) d Kurumi Nara (JPN) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Zoe Hives (AUS) d Han Xinyun (CHN) 7-5 6-0
[21] Catherine McNally (USA) d [WC] Catherine Aulia (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Katie Swan (GBR) d [WC] Abbie Myers (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Arianne Hartono (NED) d [WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) 4-6 6-4 6-1
Jana Fett (CRO) d [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) 3-6 6-3 7-5

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
[30] Arina Rodionova (AUS) v Mirjam Bjorklund (SWE)
Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
v Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Seone Mendez (AUS)
v [13] Zheng Qinwen (CHN)
Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v [2] Martina Trevisan (ITA)
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 
v [22] Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO)
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) v Jang Su-jeong (KOR)
[WC] Zoe Hives (AUS) v Emina Bektas (USA)

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2022 women’s qualifying singles draw