London, Great Britain, 25 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Olivia Gadecki has made an impressive start to her Wimbledon 2024 qualifying campaign, powering past sixth seed Maria Timofeeva in the opening round.

“I’m very happy with how I played,” the 22-year-old told after completing a 6-1 6-3 victory against the world No.100. “I thought I came out there really strong and backed myself the whole way.”

This is Gadecki’s third career top-100 win and first on the Grand Slam stage.

“I’ve been working really hard this year, so getting those top-100 wins always adds to the confidence,” world No.177 Gadecki beamed.

“I’m really happy with today and can’t wait to keep going.”

Gadecki next faces Frenchwoman Harmony Tan, who made headlines at Wimbledon 2022 when she beat seven-time champion Serena Williams in the opening round.

Fellow Gold Coast competitor Kimberly Birrell also made a winning start in her qualifying pursuit, holding off a spirited challenge to triumph 6-1 7-6(6) against Dutchwoman Arianne Hartono.

“I feel a bit relieved to get through,” admitted the 26-year-old Birrell. “She played really well, especially towards the end of the second set.

“I knew she has the ability to play really quality tennis, so I just tried to trust myself and concentrate on good depth, making first serves, the things that were in my control and try not to think too much about the outcome.”

This is Birrell’s 12th grass-court win, from her 15 matches, in the past month.

“It’s been a really good grass season for me, it’s been the best ever in my career,” acknowledged the world No.132. “I didn’t have much expectation (this year), which I think has really helped.

“I’ve just been trying to enjoy every match. I’ve been doing that and it’s showing in my tennis.”

Birrell, who next faces 19-year-old Romanian Anca Todoni, is aiming to qualify at the prestigious grass-court Grand Slam for the first time.

“I’m really glad I’ve had such a good lead-in, but I’m really hoping I’ve saved my best tennis until last,” she said. “I don’t want to stop now, this is the important week.

“I think every tennis player grows up dreaming of playing at Wimbledon. I was lucky enough to play juniors, but that was quite a few years ago now.

“It would mean the world (to qualify), but I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m just taking it one match at a time.”

Seventh seed Arina Rodionova, who looms as a potential final-round opponent for Birrell, scored a hard-fought 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory against British wildcard Amelia Rajecki to also move into the second round.

There was good news too for the resurgent Destanee Aiava, who recorded her first victory at Wimbledon in seven years.

“I’m really happy. I haven’t played Wimby for a couple of years, so it’s nice to be back and get a win,” the 24-year-old said after defeating Ukrainian Anastasiya Soboleva 6-3 6-3.

Rising stars Talia Gibson and Maya Joint recorded milestone victories in their tournament debut, while Maddison Inglis booked her spot in the second round as well.

With seven Australian women progressing to the second round, this matches the most to reach this stage in a Wimbledon qualifying draw in 30 years.

Aussies in action – Wimbledon

Women’s qualifying singles, first round
[7] Arina Rodionova (AUS) d [WC] Amelia Rajecki (GBR) 6-4 4-6 6-4
[32] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)
 d Arianne Hartono (NED) 6-1 7-6(6)
Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
 d [6] Maria Timofeeva 6-1 6-3
Talia Gibson (AUS) d [19] Jana Fett (CRO) 6-3 6-1
Destanee Aiava (AUS) d Anastasiya Soboleva (UKR) 6-3 6-3
Maya Joint (AUS) d Andreea Mitu (ROU) 6-2 6-3
[Alt] Maddison Inglis (AUS) d [22] Sara Bejlek (CZE) 6-4 1-0 ret.
[28] Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) d Priscilla Hon (AUS) 3-6 7-6(1) 7-6(7)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d [27] Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Natalija Stevanovic (SRB) d Taylah Preston (AUS) 6-3 7-5

Women’s qualifying singles, second round
[7] Arina Rodionova (AUS) Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP)
[32] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)
v Anca Todoni (ROU)
Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
v Harmony Tan (FRA)
Talia Gibson (AUS) v Destanee Aiava (AUS) 
Maya Joint (AUS) v [20] McCartney Kessler (USA)
[Alt] Maddison Inglis (AUS) v Natalija Stevanovic (SRB)

> VIEW: Wimbledon 2024 women’s qualifying singles draw

Men’s qualifying singles, second round
[4] James Duckworth (AUS) Nicolas Moreno De Alboran (USA)
Li Tu (AUS) v [6] Luca Van Assche (FRA)

[Alt] Alex Bolt (AUS) Rudolf Molleker (GER)

> VIEW: Wimbledon 2024 men’s qualifying singles draw

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