Melbourne, Australia, 10 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

Priscilla Hon is walking a different path in 2023, but she’s hoping the journey will be even more special as she searches for back-to-back Australian Open main-draw appearances.

World No.169 Hon had to fight hard to get past defiant American Katrina Scott 6-3 6-7(2) 6-1 in the opening round of qualifying today.

“The second set was frustrating. I felt I was in control of the match but would make a couple of errors at bad times and open the door,” Hon said.

“I felt like I got rid of that and concentrated hard during the third.”

This time last year, Hon was riding high after defeating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the Adelaide International and earning an Australian Open 2022 wildcard.

“I had one of the biggest wins of my career to start last year and I think I put a lot of pressure on myself and felt a lot of pressure from outside as well,” said the 24-year-old.

“This year is a bit more low key and I’ve made a plan to just enjoy it.”

Hon has battled the hard road at times, with a lengthy injury lay-off throughout 2020 and 2021, but she isn’t daring herself to look too far ahead.

“In the past I’ve thought ahead a bit and it doesn’t really work for me. So it’s on to round two and that’s it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ellen Perez’s quest for her first Australian Open main-draw appearance since 2019 took a strong step forward with a commanding 6-0 6-2 victory over fellow Aussie Petra Hule.

The world No.362-ranked wildcard struck 11 winners to two in the opening set and returned 89 per cent of balls as she assumed complete control.

Hule hit back midway through the second set, but Perez steadied again to win the last four games of the match.

“It was good when I got that challenge in the second set that I was able to work out a few things. She is a very capable player, so it was nice to respond in that way,” Perez said after the match.

The 27-year-old was delighted with her performance given her lack of matches in recent weeks.

“Very happy with the performance. I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t had any singles matches leading into this event,” she said.

“I got a lot of confidence out of the practice sets I’d been playing, I was feeling good on court, very bouncy and good energy.”

Perez broke into the world’s top 20 in women’s doubles after reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals and US Open semifinals last year, and spoke about the influence doubles has had on her singles game.

“My doubles has always helped my singles. It keeps me around tournaments longer and practising against some top players,” she said.

“I’ve made an effort to focus a lot more on singles at the moment and this is a good start.”

Tickets to attend Australian Open 2023 qualifying are just $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Fans will also be able to see some of the world’s top-ranked players compete in practice matches at Melbourne Park.

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2023 tickets

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) d Katrina Scott (USA) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-1
[WC] Ellen Perez (AUS) d [WC] Petra Hule (AUS) 6-0 6-2
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) d Katharina Hobgarski (GER) 6-3 5-7 6-1
[1] Alycia Parks (USA) d [WC] Alexandra Bozovic (AUS) 7-6(4) 7-6(2)
[26] Jodie Burrage (GBR) d [WC] Elysia Bolton (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-3 4-6 6-3

> READ: Li Tu leads Aussie winners in AO 2023 men’s qualifying competition

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) v Katherine Sebov (CAN)
Zoe Hives (AUS) 
v Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva (AND)
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) v [20] Simona Waltert (SUI)
[WC] Ellen Perez (AUS) v Jessica Bouzas Maneiro (ESP)
[WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) 
v Arianne Hartono (NED)

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2023 women’s qualifying singles draw

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