Melbourne, Australia, 9 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Aussie teens Talia Gibson and Melisa Ercan scored milestone victories today in the Australian Open 2024 women’s qualifying singles competition.

The wildcard entrants both upset higher-ranked opponents at Melbourne Park to record their first wins at Grand Slam level.

The 19-year-old Gibson triumphed 6-3 1-6 6-2 against Romanian Andreea Mitu, a player 13 years her senior.

“It’s my first win at Grand Slam level and second at WTA level, so I’m really proud of today’s effort,” beamed world No.229 Gibson.

“(I’ve been dreaming of this) ever since I was little. Being able to play a Grand Slam in your home country is just incredible, so this is very special to me.”

Gibson, a winner in 12 of her past 13 matches, faces Czech teen Brenda Fruhvirtova in the next round.

The 16-year-old Fruhvirtova is aiming to qualify at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row. The world No.110 recorded a 6-4 6-4 opening-round victory against Aussie wildcard Petra Hule.

Ercan, an 18-year-old contesting her first Grand Slam event, scored a dramatic 6-4 7-6(5) victory against Brit Yuriko Miyazaki.

Miyazaki, who is 10 years older and ranked more than 300 places higher than her Australian opponent, established a 3-1 lead in the opening set. However, Ercan then reeled off eight consecutive games to take control.

But leading 4-1 in the second set, Ercan began to cramp.

It took a gritty effort from the world No.511, who was taken off court in a wheelchair at the completion of the match, to hold off a charging Miyazaki.

Earlier in the day, Priscilla Hon spoiled 15-year-old Emerson Jones’ quest to become the youngest Aussie to win an Australian Open singles match since Jelena Dokic in 1999.

Hon scored a 6-2 7-5 victory in the all-Australian battle between the two Queenslanders, who regularly train together in Brisbane.

“She’s literally 10 years younger than me, which is not a great feeling,” world No.206 Hon said.

“I knew I was in for a tough one and she didn’t even show that she had many nerves. Compared to me when I was 15, I would have been freaking out, so good on her. She played really well.”

World No.132 Astra Sharma also opened her qualifying campaign with a win, overcoming Portugal’s Francisca Jorge in a three-set battle, while Ivana Popovic scored a major breakthrough victory of her own.

> READ: Popovic powers into second round in AO 2024 qualifying

Tickets to attend Australian Open 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 2024 tickets

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
[16] Astra Sharma (AUS) d Francisca Jorge (POR) 6-7(3) 6-3 6-3
Priscilla Hon (AUS)
d [WC] Emerson Jones (AUS) 6-2 7-5
Destanee Aiava (AUS) d Chloe Paquet (FRA) 6-3 7-6(5)
[WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) d Andreea Mitu (ROU) 6-3 1-6 6-2
[WC] Melisa Ercan (AUS) d Yuriko Miyazaki (GBR) 6-4 7-6(5)
[WC] Ivana Popovic (AUS) d Tena Lukas (CRO) 6-3 6-2
[2] Renata Zarazua (MEX) d Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) 6-4 6-3
[6] Erika Andreeva d [WC] Kaylah McPhee (AUS) 6-1 6-2
[10] Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE) d [WC] Petra Hule (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) d [7] Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-3 6-4

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
Storm Hunter (AUS) v Kaia Kanepi (EST)
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) v [14] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP)
[WC] Seone Mendez (AUS) v [19] Hailey Baptiste (USA)
[WC] Maya Joint (AUS) v Natalija Stevanovic (SRB)

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
[16] Astra Sharma (AUS) v Maria Timofeeva
Priscilla Hon (AUS)
 v [29] Dalma Galfi (HUN)
Destanee Aiava (AUS) v [20] Jil Teichmann (SUI)
[WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) v [10] Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE)
[WC] Ivana Popovic (AUS) v [11] Anna Bondar (HUN)
[WC] Melisa Ercan (AUS) v Wei Sijia (CHN)

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

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