Aussie wheelchair stars excited for Australian Open 2023
World No.3 Heath Davidson is among 23 Aussies scheduled to compete on day nine at Australian Open 2023.
Australia’s leading wheelchair players, Heath Davidson and Ben Weekes, begin their Australian Open 2023 campaigns today.
The start of the wheelchair competitions coincides with the tournament’s inaugural All Abilities Day, which celebrates diverse tennis pathways and why the Australian Open is one of the most accessible and inclusive events in the world.
World No.3 Davidson, who won the Victorian Wheelchair Open title earlier this month, can’t wait to be part of the action at Melbourne Park today.
“I love being here. It’s my favourite tournament of the year,” said the four-time Australian Open doubles champion.
“The Australian Open has always loved and welcomed wheelchairs, so I’m super excited to be back. A little bit quieter this year without Dylan (Alcott) floating around on the court with me, but hopefully I can continue the good fortune that us Aussies have had on the court.”
The 38-year-old Weekes contested his first Australian Open in 2001 and always relishes the home-crowd support.
“We’re travelling a lot during the year, so it’s always great to play your home Slam and get your team out there, and family and friends down watching,” he said. “I’m very excited to be out there in front of everyone.”
Davidson and Weekes are among 23 Aussies scheduled to compete on day nine at Australian Open 2023.
Aussies in action:
[WC] Lizette Cabrera (AUS)/John-Patrick Smith (AUS) v Luisa Stefani (BRA)/Rafael Matos (BRA)
Mixed doubles, quarterfinals, Rod Laver Arena, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Townsville talents Cabrera and Smith are enjoying an exciting run. This is 24-year-old Cabrera’s career-best result in a Grand Slam mixed doubles draw. While Smith, who celebrates his 34th birthday today, has reached his third major mixed doubles quarterfinal and first since 2020. The Aussie wildcards now play Brazilian duo, world No.34 Stefani and world No.29 Matos.
[WC] Ben Weekes (AUS) v Martin de la Puente (ESP)
Men’s wheelchair singles, first round, Margaret Court Arena, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Weekes, a 38-year-old from Sydney ranked No.26, is taking a no-pressure approach into his first-round showdown with De la Puente, a 23-year-old Spaniard ranked No.8. “I’m the wildcard, so every draw is going to be tough for me,” said the Australian No.1. “I’m just going to go out there and do my thing on court and hopefully come up with the goods.”
Head-to-head record: Tied at one-all
Last meeting: Weekes won 6-1 6-2 (Nottingham, July 2016)
Rennae Stubbs (AUS)/Cara Black (ZIM) v Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)/Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Legends’ doubles, Court 3, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Stubbs, a former world No.1 doubles star, is reuniting with Black, another former world No.1 doubles player, in the legends competition. The Wimbledon 2004 doubles champions face former top-10 stars Hantuchova and Radwanska, who won the Miami 2011 doubles title together.
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)/Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU)
Women’s doubles, quarterfinals, Kia Arena, fourth match
Hunter, a 28-year-old who lives in Melbourne, is thriving in a new partnership with world No.5 Mertens, a 27-year-old from Belgium. The fourth seeds have been building impressive momentum and now face world No.38 Kostyuk, a 20-year-old Ukrainian, and world No.89 Ruse, a 25-year-old Romanian. World No.12 Hunter is aiming to reach her first Australian Open women’s doubles semifinal.
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v [WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)/Marc Polmans (AUS)
Mixed doubles, quarterfinals, Court 3, fourth match (not before 4pm AEDT)
This is a quarterfinal showdown between two Australian wildcard pairings with contrasting histories. The 25-year-old Inglis and 29-year-old Kubler are on off-court couple, while 20-year-old Gadecki and 25-year-old Polmans had not met before this tournament. Each have progressed to this stage with impressive play and are determined to continue their winning runs.
Heath Davidson (AUS) v  Sam Schroder (NED)
Quad wheelchair singles, first round, Court 8, fourth match
World No.3 Davidson has been handed a tough first-round assignment against defending champion Schroder. The 35-year-old from Melbourne is looking to snap a 10-match losing streak against the world No.2. “Me and Sam have had a couple of really close battles the last few times we’ve played, all gone deep into the third,” Davidson said. “I’m just going to get out there and hopefully can put on a show for everyone.”
Head-to-head record: Schroder leads 12-2
Last meeting: Schroder won 6-3 3-6 6-3 (Melbourne, January 2023)
[WC] Lily Fairclough (AUS) v  Ranah Akua Stoiber (GBR)
Girls’ singles, second round, Court 13, second match
Fairclough proved why she is one to watch in the opening round, striking 42 winners to notch her first Grand Slam-level victory. The 17-year-old from Perth, who is ranked No.76, has set up a second-round showdown with 13th-seeded Stoiber. The 17-year-old Brit is ranked No.24 and was a US Open girls’ singles quarterfinalist last year.
[WC] Stefani Webb (AUS) v Sonja Zhiyenbayeva (GER)
Girls’ singles, second round, Court 14, second match
After sensationally knocking out the top seed in the opening round, Webb now meets Zhiyenbayeva, a 16-year-old German who is ranked No.32. The 17-year-old Webb earned a wildcard by winning the 18/u Australian Championships last month. The Melbourne local, ranked No.187, is embracing her ‘underdog’ status and plans to ‘give it my best’.
[WC] Pavle Marinkov (AUS) v Patrick Schoen (SUI)
Boys’ singles, second round, Court 15, third match
Marinkov, a 16-year-old wildcard from New South Wales, is enjoying a dream Australian Open debut. The world No.275, who won the 18/u Australian Championships at Melbourne Park last month, is through to the second round, where he faces Schoen, a 17-year-old from Switzerland ranked No.53.
 Hayden Jones (AUS)/Danil Panarin v Alexander Frusina (USA)/Jan Hrazdil (CZE)
Boys’ doubles, second round, Court 14, third match
Jones, a 16-year-old from the Gold Coast, is Australia’s highest-ranked junior boy at world No.23. He is partnering world No.24 Panarin in the doubles competition. The fifth-seeded combination meet world No.34 Frusina, a 17-year-old from America, and Hrazdil, a 17-year-old Czech ranked No.61.
[WC] Alexander Despoja (AUS)/Jeremy Zhang (AUS) v Federico Bondioli (ITA)/Matic Kriznik (SLO)
Boys’ doubles, second round, Court 12, fourth match
The Aussie wildcards shocked the No.2 seeds in the opening round. Despoja, a 18-year-old from South Australia, and Zhang, a 17-year-old from New South Wales, now look to continue their impressive run against Bondioli, a 17-year-old Italian ranked No.51, and Kriznik, a 17-year-old Slovenian ranked No.41.
[WC] Cooper Errey (AUS)/Marcus Schoeman (AUS) v Michal Krajci (SVK)/Andrii Zimnokh (UKR)
Boys’ doubles, second round, Court 13, fourth match
Errey, a 17-year-old Victorian, and Schoeman, a 17-year-old from Queensland, won the 18/u Australian Championships doubles title last month. They are hoping to maintain their winning form against Krajci, an 18-year-old from Slovakia, and Zimnokh, a 17-year-old from Ukraine.
[WC] Zara Larke (AUS)/Anja Nayar (AUS) v Renata Jamrichova (SVK)/Federica Urgesi (ITA)
Girls’ doubles, second round, Court 15, fourth match
Larke and Nayar have made an impressive start to their Australian Open campaign. The 17-year-old wildcards, who are both from Queensland, take on world No.29 Jamrichova, a 15-year-old Slovak, and world No.51 Urgesi, a 17-year-old Italian, in the second round.
[WC] Roisin Gilheany (AUS)/Stefani Webb (AUS) v Carolina Kuhl (GER)/Ella Seidel (GER)
Girls’ doubles, second round, Court 12, fifth match
Victorians, 17-year-old Gilheany and 17-year-old Webb, are enjoying a memorable run at their home Grand Slam. The Aussie wildcards now face a German combination in the second round. Kuhl is a 17-year-old ranked No.40, while Seidel is a 17-year-old ranked No.31.
Emerson Jones (AUS)/Wakana Sonobe (JPN) v  Ella McDonald (GBR)/Luca Udvardy (HUN)
Girls’ doubles, second round, Court 16, fifth match
Jones, a 14-year-old from the Gold Coast, is enjoying her Australian Open debut. The world No.34 is partnering Sonobe, a 15-year-old from Japan ranked No.64. Today they meet the top seeds – world No.8 McDonald, a 17-year-old Brit, and world No.18 Udvardy, a 17-year-old from Hungary.
[WC] Pavle Marinkov (AUS)/Zachary Viiala (AUS) v Ruslan Tiukaev/Tianhui Zhang (CHN)
Boys’ doubles, second round, Court 15, sixth match
Aussie wildcards Marinkov, a 16-year-old from New South Wales, and Viiala, a 17-year-old from Western Australia, have reached the second round. They now face world No.129 Tiukaev and world No.104 Zhang, a 16-year-old from China.
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