Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

A decade has passed since Storm Hunter made her Grand Slam main-draw singles debut at the Australian Open.

In that time, a lot has happened. There’s been career-threatening injuries, extended stints on the sidelines and even a brief retirement from singles.

The 29-year-old has, of course, thrived in doubles in recent seasons. She is a US Open champion, a Wimbledon finalist and the reigning world No.1.

Determined to prove herself as a singles contender too, Hunter’s patience and hard work is finally paying off.

The world No.180, who earned her spot in the main-draw as a qualifier, recorded her first Australian Open main-draw singles win today.

In her sixth main-draw appearance at her home Grand Slam, Hunter made her long-awaited breakthrough with a 6-4 6-3 triumph against Italian Sara Errani.

“It means everything,” Hunter beamed.

“I grew up watching the Australian Open and dreaming of playing here. I’ve had a lot of opportunities. I’m a little bit older, so I’ve played a few main draws and never got the win.

“To come through qualifying and win my first round in singles, it’s a dream come true. I’ve kind of been waiting for it for a few years, so very happy to get it done here today.”

Errani, currently ranked No.101, is a former world No.5 and Roland Garros finalist. Her best Australian Open result was reaching the quarterfinals in 2012.

The 36-year-old Errani is also an accomplished doubles player, winning five Grand Slam titles and peaking at world No.1.

It was Hunter who dictated their 89-minute encounter though, striking 44 winners to Errani’s 19.

This effort propels Hunter into a second-round showdown with Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

“I’m just enjoying every moment out here,” Hunter said.

“To be able to do it in singles as well, it means I have a big schedule now – singles, doubles and mixed. But bring it on, it’s a lot of fun.”

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2024 tickets

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Women’s singles, first round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) d Sara Errani (ITA) 6-4 6-3
[19] Elina Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) 6-2 6-2
Magdalena Frech (POL) d [WC] Daria Saville (AUS) 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5

Men’s singles, first round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-7(6) 6-3 2-0 ret.
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
 d [WC] Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-3 7-6(3) 6-2
Jordan Thompson (AUS) Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 3-6 7-6(3) 6-2 3-6 6-4
[9] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d [Q] Omar Jasika (AUS) 7-6(4) 6-4 6-2
[24] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) d Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-7(2) 7-6(8)
Luca Van Assche (FRA) d [WC] James Duckworth (AUS) 6-7(2) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-3

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v [11] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Sloane Stephens (USA)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Petra Martic (CRO)

Women’s singles, second round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) v Laura Siegemund (GER)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 women’s singles draw

Men’s singles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS) v [Q] Mate Valkusz (HUN)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Sebastian Ofner (AUT)
[WC] James McCabe (AUS) v Alex Michelsen (USA)

Men’s singles, second round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 
v [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [7] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Chris O’Connell (AUS) 
v [16] Ben Shelton (USA)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 men’s singles draw

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