Aussies score more wins in US Open 2022 qualifying
Australian hopes Priscilla Hon, Lizette Cabrera and Max Purcell all scored first-round wins in the US Open 2022 qualifying competition today.
Priscilla Hon became the fourth Australian woman to advance to the second round of US Open qualifying, after outlasting Asia Muhammad in New York today.
The Queenslander recovered from a slow start to record a 2-6 6-3 6-4 triumph over the American at Flushing Meadows.
Hon joins compatriots Maddison Inglis, Astra Sharma and Kimberly Birrell in the second round, after that trio won their opening matches yesterday.
Inglis and Sharma’s dramatic three-set matches had crossed Hon’s mind as she completed victory in two hours and 11 minutes.
“Seeing the scores, they were down in tiebreaks, and then up, and it just shows you that tennis is never over. You never know what’s going to happen,” said Hon, who has won four of her past five matches.
“Even if you’re losing, you can always come back. And if you’re winning, you gotta stay on it.”
A turning point came deep in the second set, when Hon won a lengthy rally to earn a break point, which she converted to take a 5-3 lead.
And she staved off another break point early in the second set before breaking Muhammad in the very next game, and broke again later in the set to earn an opportunity to serve for the match.
She played aggressive, purposeful tennis to arrive at 40-0 and three match points, and sealed victory two points later.
“In previous matches so far I’ve done pretty well to close out on serve, so I feel like I’ve just got a bit of confidence coming into it, knowing that I have done it multiple times now, and just to back myself,” Hon said.
“I felt it a bit, (in the second set) it was turning, like I was getting momentum. But in the first set I just was not comfortable, I did not feel very confident at all. And so it was nice to get that out of the way and be able to turn it around.”
After losing in the first round of WTA Toronto qualifying to fellow Aussie Ellen Perez, Hon won three matches in straight sets to advance to the second round of the Vancouver WTA 125K event as a qualifier.
And she carried that momentum with her into New York, where she next faces 16-year-old Czech Sara Bejlek for a place in the final round of qualifying.
“Toronto was (a case of) I didn’t know how to play tennis (smiling), and then I was like, ‘Geez, this is gonna be a rough couple of weeks before I get home’,” she admitted.
“But I was able to turn it around in Vancouver and get a couple of matches and get some confidence back.”
Later in the day, Lizette Cabrera boosted the number of Australian women into the second round to five.
The 24-year-old scored a come-from-behind victory against 15th seed Olga Danilovic, prevailing 4-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes.
Cabrera looked in trouble when Danilovic served for victory in the second set and held a match point.
“Honestly, I just said to myself ‘fight for every point’,” Cabrera told tennis.com.au.
“I was really enjoying it out there and I said ‘I want to go out with a bang’. Even if I lost, I just wanted to give it everything.”
It is a confidence-boosting result for Cabrera, who had recorded only a single win from her past eight matches.
“I’ve been working so hard on the practice court and in the gym, just trying to do all the one per centers and I think that’s the reason I got over the line today,” said a relieved Cabrera after her impressive victory.
“The last few matches I think I’ve put a bit too much pressure on myself to win, so I was just trying to enjoy it and soak it all in.”
Meanwhile, Max Purcell continued his impressive form of late with a commanding win over Serbia’s Nikola Milojevic.
With his game translating beautifully to the quick, lively courts in the New York heat, Purcell raced through the first set and rebounded from a break down in the second to complete a 6-0 6-4 triumph.
He won 12 of the final 16 points of the match, advancing to a second-round meeting with No.2 seed Daniel Elahi Galan when Milojevic double-faulted on match point.
“I’ve played well the last few months in singles, qualified for Wimbledon, qualified for Los Cabos and won a round, won a round in Newport,” said Purcell, who has won 14 of his past 21 matches.
“I feel like I can kind of play with the big boys, so it’s just a chance to get there in the main draw (here at the US Open).
“I think it took him a while to get used to the conditions. Definitely quick through the air, especially with the heat today, quick off the court, the court’s soaking in a lot of heat and really works well for my slice, and my redirection of pace.
“Even though he was up in the second set, I still thought like I had momentum. I’d played him before a couple of times, actually here in the first round (of qualifying) in 2019, and I just knew that he’s going to have trouble closing out sets.
“(I was thinking) sort of hang around, and if I can just kind of keep putting pressure on by holding my serve easily after that, then he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. And he was, yeah.”
Aussies in action – US Open
Women’s qualifying singles, first round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) d Asia Muhammad (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-4
Lizette Cabrera (AUS) d  Olga Danilovic (SRB) 4-6 7-5 6-3
Men’s qualifying singles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS) d Nikola Milojevic (SRB) 6-0 6-4
Women’s qualifying singles, second round
 Maddison Inglis (AUS) v [WC] Valerie Glozman (USA)
Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v  Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
Astra Sharma (AUS) v  Reka Luca Jani (HUN)
Priscilla Hon (AUS) v Sara Beljek (CZE)
Lizette Cabrera (AUS) v Catherine Harrison (USA)
Men’s qualifying singles, second round
Max Purcell (AUS) v  Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)
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