Melbourne, Australia, 10 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

For the first time in 36 years, nine Aussie women have progressed to the second round in the Australian Open women’s qualifying singles competition.

Among them is Storm Hunter, who began her qualifying quest today with a victory over former world No.15 Kaia Kanepi.

The world No.1 doubles star described the performances from the Aussie women this week at Melbourne Park as “unreal”.

“A lot of them are younger girls too and it’s their first time playing qualies in a Slam,” Hunter noted.

“I think success kind of breeds success, so to see that and get that belief and motivation is awesome.

“It’s super exciting and hopefully we can all keep going.”

The 29-year-old was relieved after posting her 6-3 6-2 victory against Kanepi, who is ranked four spots higher at world No.175.

“When I saw the draw, I thought that’s pretty tough,” world No.179 Hunter said.

“Kanepi’s an unbelievable player, she’s gone so well at Slams and had an amazing career, so I definitely knew I had to bring my A game.”

The 38-year-old Estonian, a seven-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, made a strong start in their Court 3 meeting.

“I started off pretty average, 3-0 down pretty quickly,” Hunter said.

“(But) I ended up playing a really good match played on my terms and I was enjoying the crowd out there. It was a lot of fun.”

> READ: Aussie teens achieve 25-year first in Australian Open qualifying

Maddison Inglis was the final Aussie woman to earn a second-round spot, after recording a hard-fought 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory against world No.107 Nuria Parrizas Diaz this afternoon.

“This morning and yesterday I watched a few of the girls and they’re all playing so well,” Inglis said of her Aussie peers.

“I feel like there’s a lot of belief and we’re all encouraging each other. I’m really happy for the other girls and I’m really happy to be one of the nine through.”

The 25-year-old wildcard needed two hours and 31 minutes to navigate past the in-form Parrizas Diaz, who scooped a WTA 125 title in Canberra last week.

“It’s always good to get through those really tight ones, especially against a good player,” world No.283 Inglis said after recording her biggest win since August 2022.

“It feels really good to get a win like that … Hopefully it’s a good starting point for the rest of the tournament.”

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
Storm Hunter (AUS) d Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) d [14] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 4-6 6-3 7-5
[WC] Maya Joint (AUS) d Natalija Stevanovic (SRB) 6-3 1-6 7-5
[19] Hailey Baptiste (USA) d [WC] Seone Mendez (AUS) 6-3 6-1

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) d [29] Dalma Galfi (HUN) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Maria Timofeeva d [16] Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-2 6-4

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
Destanee Aiava (AUS) v [20] Jil Teichmann (SUI)
Storm Hunter (AUS) v [30] Celine Naef (SUI)
[WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) v [10] Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE)
[WC] Ivana Popovic (AUS) v [11] Anna Bondar (HUN)
[WC] Maya Joint (AUS) v [32] Darja Semenistaja (LAT)
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) v Katarina Zavatska (UKR)
[WC] Melisa Ercan (AUS) v Wei Sijia (CHN)

Women’s qualifying singles, final round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) v Maria Timofeeva 

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

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