Sharma, Inglis into final round of US Open qualifying
Australians Astra Sharma and Maddison Inglis have progressed through to the final round in the US Open 2022 qualifying competition.
Astra Sharma and Maddison Inglis both stand one win away from the US Open main draw after winning second-round qualifying matches today.
Sharma recovered from 2-6 0-4 down to defeat Hungary’s Reka-Luka Jani, after Inglis notched a 6-4 6-3 win over American wildcard Valerie Glozman.
Kimberly Birrell came extremely close to setting a final-round qualifying battle against Sharma, yet eventually fell in a high-quality 6-2 2-6 6-4 match to Viktorija Golubic, a former world No.35 and Wimbledon 2021 quarterfinalist.
In other Australian results, Priscilla Hon lost 6-4 6-1 to in-form Czech Sara Bejlek, Lizette Cabrera was beaten 6-3 7-6(2) by American Catherine Harrison, while Max Purcell found No.2 seed Daniel Elahi Galan too strong, falling 7-6(6) 6-4.
For Sharma, this was a second straight dramatic match at Flushing Meadows, after saving a match point to beat Jessika Ponchet 1-6 6-1 7-6(10) in the opening round of qualifying.
The former world No.84 had lost five of six matches before arriving in New York, and said gritty victories such as these were especially rewarding in what had been a trying season.
“I just really focused on getting my energy up and being competitive. (I was) not really competing until I hit that point (down 2-6 0-4) so I was just like, ‘I gotta do something, if I’m gonna lose, I gotta do this the right way and actually compete more’,” Sharma told tennis.com.au after the two-and-a-half-hour tussle.
“I’m just really proud of myself, because this is exactly what I’ve been trying to work on the whole week, and just making it a habit to always come out like that.”
Sharma qualified at the most recent Wimbledon, and also at the US Open last year, and said she would love another opportunity to contest the main draw of a major tournament.
Despite having slipped to world No.191, the West Australian holds an impressive streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam main-draw appearances.
“It would be amazing. I’d love to be back in the main draw. I’m just taking it one step at a time,” Sharma said.
“I haven’t had the best year but I think I’m starting to get on the right track and turn around my mentality and this is just so important, these matches.”
Earlier, Inglis enjoyed a smoother passage than her three-hour epic in round one.
From 4-all in the opening set, she stormed through seven consecutive games to lead 6-4 5-0.
Although she got a little tight as her opponent lifted her level, she was able to serve out the match on her second attempt after one hour, 15 minutes on court.
“Today it was awesome to get through that,” Inglis told tennis.com.au.
“These are her first WTA or Grand Slam matches, so she has kind of nothing to lose in some respects. So it was pretty nerve-wracking, and it got a little bit tighter in the end than I was hoping, but it was really good to get over the line and prove to myself that I can play through those nerves.”
Inglis, who has won seven of her past nine matches, also qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon, and will take that confidence into her final-round match against China’s Yuan Yue.
“Wimbledon was the first time I’d been past the second round in qualifying, so to actually break through that (barrier), and also know that you can qualify, and play through those nerves, I think is massive, for this time and the match tomorrow,” she said.
“I’m going to recover today and prepare the best I can, and give it everything I’ve got tomorrow, because I want to be playing on Monday and Tuesday next week.”
Aussies in action – US Open
Women’s qualifying singles, second round
 Maddison Inglis (AUS) d [WC] Valerie Glozman (USA) 6-4 6-3
Astra Sharma (AUS) d  Reka Luca Jani (HUN) 2-6 6-4 6-3
 Viktorija Golubic (SUI) d Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-2 2-6 6-4
Sara Beljek (CZE) d Priscilla Hon (AUS) 6-4 6-1
Catherine Harrison (USA) d Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-3 7-6(2)
Men’s qualifying singles, second round
 Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) d Max Purcell (AUS) 7-6(6) 6-4
Women’s qualifying singles, final round
 Maddison Inglis (AUS) v Yuan Yue (CHN)
Astra Sharma (AUS) v  Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
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