Melbourne, Australia, 11 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Maya Joint had no words to describe her emotions after advancing to the final round of the Australian Open 2024 women’s qualifying singles competition.

“I’m lost for words right now, I did not expect to come this far,” admitted the 17-year-old wildcard.

“I’m surprised, I’m happy and just glad I can play again tomorrow.”

The world No.573 is competing in a Grand Slam qualifying draw for the first time in her young career.

However, her inexperience did not show as she swatted aside world No.143 Darja Semenistaja in second-round action today at Melbourne Park.

A fearless Joint struck 26 winners in her 6-1 7-6(4) triumph against the seeded Latvian.

Joint grew up in the American state of Michigan, but relocated last year to Australia, her father’s homeland.

Prior to this summer, the promising teen had never faced a top-200 opponent in her handful of professional appearances.

Yet in this past fortnight, she has tallied four top-200 wins.

Joint, who is now based in Brisbane, was a standout performer at last week’s Canberra International, reaching the quarterfinals in a career-best run at WTA 125 level.

“There’s no pressure, so I just go out there and see what I can do,” Joint said of her mindset tackling more-experienced opponents.

That approach is clearly paying off, with only former world No.21 Dayana Yastremska, the top seed in the qualifying draw, now standing in her way of a Grand Slam main-draw debut.

“I mean, it would be a dream come true,” Joint said at the prospect of qualifying.

“My dream has always been to play in a Grand Slam, so it would be so amazing.”

Joint’s unexpected run means she won’t be able to compete at an ITF junior event in Traralgon tomorrow, as originally planned.

“I was going to play Traralgon, but now I’ve got so far I can’t play, which is a nice surprise,” said Joint, who currently sits at a career-high world No.25 in the junior rankings and plans to compete in this year’s Australian Open junior championships.

Fellow teenager Talia Gibson’s campaign ended in heartbreak today, having held a match point late in her clash with Czech Brenda Fruhvirtova.

However, world No.110 Fruhvirtova fought back to post a 1-6 6-3 7-5 victory against the 19-year-old Aussie.

A total of five Aussie women have progressed to the final qualifying round, the most to reach this stage in Melbourne Park history.

> READ: Aussie women accomplish 36-year first in Australian Open qualifying

Tickets to attend Australian Open qualifying, which concludes tomorrow, 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, second round
Destanee Aiava (AUS) d [20] Jil Teichmann (SUI) 2-6 7-5 6-1
Storm Hunter (AUS) d [30] Celine Naef (SUI) 6-3 7-6(4)
[WC] Maya Joint (AUS) d [32] Darja Semenistaja (LAT) 6-1 7-6(4)
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) d Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 7-6(3) 6-3
[10] Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE) d [WC] Talia Gibson (AUS) 1-6 6-3 7-5
[11] Anna Bondar (HUN) d [WC] Ivana Popovic (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Wei Sijia (CHN) d [WC] Melisa Ercan (AUS) walkover

Women’s qualifying singles, final round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) v Maria Timofeeva
Storm Hunter (AUS) v Dominika Salkova (CZE)
Destanee Aiava (AUS) v [2] Renata Zarazua (MEX)
[WC] Maya Joint (AUS) v [1] Dayana Yastremska (UKR)
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) v [24] Daria Snigur (UKR)

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

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