Australian Open Qualifying Day 5 Recap – The Field is Set

Nao Hibino at the Australian Open qualifying
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The Australian Open qualifying was originally supposed to finish on Friday, but 20 matches had to be postponed by one day. Using nine courts, the qualifying competition was belatedly finished, leaving the field set for the first Major of the decade.

Australian Open Qualifying Day 5

The qualifiers

  • Alejandro Tabilo
  • Mario Vilella Martinez
  • Daniel Elahi Galan
  • Dennis Novak
  • Christopher Eubanks
  • Quentin Halys
  • Mohamed Safwat
  • Tallon Griekspoor
  • Eliot Benchetrit
  • Marco Trungelliti
  • Norbert Gombos
  • Ilya Ivashka
  • Max Purcell
  • Peter Gojowczyk
  • Ernests Gulbis
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Elisabetta Cocciaretto
  • Antonia Lottner
  • Nao Hibino
  • Greet Minnen
  • Anna Kalinskaya
  • Leylah Annie Fernandez
  • Kaja Juvan
  • Caty McNally
  • Johanna Larsson
  • Barbora Krejcikova
  • Martina Trevisan
  • Ann Li
  • Harriet Dart
  • Shelby Rogers
  • Monica Niculescu
  • Ludmilla Samsonova

Players marked in bold are making their debut in the main draw at a Grand Slam. The youngest player who made it through the qualifying draw is the 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

Upsets

Johanna Larsson beating Varvara Gracheva was the closest thing to a full-blown upset on day five of the Australian Open qualifying. Both players were in excellent form coming into the match РGracheva had some brilliant performances late last season and Larsson had been dominant in her opening two matches at Melbourne Park. And, despite finding herself 3-5 down in the opening set, it was the Swede who claimed victory and a spot in the main draw, rallying to win 7-5 6-3.

Mohamed Safwat, meanwhile, beat Evgeny Donskoy in what was surely one of the finest performances of his career. Safwat saved all five break points he faced to qualify for a Slam for the very first time, with his only previous appearance in the main draw at a Grand Slam coming as a lucky loser at Roland Garros in 2018.

Great performances

Whilst Nao Hibino’s win over Lara Arruabarrena was not in itself a surprise, the ease with which the Japanese dispatched her opponent was. Arruabarrena had been in great form coming into the match, after winning through both of the previous qualifying rounds without dropping a set. Hibino, in contrast, had looked rather shaky at Melbourne Park, dropping sets to En Shuo Liang and Yue Yuan. But Hibino never gave Arruabarrena the chance to settle, breaking six times to record a dominant 6-1 6-2 win.

Elisabetta Cocciaretto, last year a semifinalist in the juniors, impressed in her dismissal of Tereza Martincova. The Italian needed barely 70 minutes to dispatch the higher-ranked Martincova, 6-2 6-1, and make her first Grand Slam main draw, where she will face former-champion Angelique Kerber.

The Aussies

Destanee Aiava¬†was the last Australian woman hoping to make it in to the main draw, having made it to the final round with wins over Kamila Rakhimova and 16th seed Varvara Flink. But the 19-year-old was unable to make much of an impact against the experienced Antonia Lottner, losing 4-6 2-6. Just one Australian was left in contention on the men’s side, Aleksandar Vukic. But he too came up short, losing 3-6 2-6 to Daniel Elahi Galan, who is now set to make his debut in the main draw at a Major.

Match of the day

Only three of the matches went to a deciding set, but the best of them was undoubtedly Anna Kalinskaya’s thrilling comeback win over Wang Xinyu. The Russian started slowly and found herself a set and a break down, facing match point against Wang’s serve. But she managed to dig her way out of trouble, coming back to a claim a 4-6 7-6 (2) 6-2 win, with her aggressive returning, particularly against the Chinese’s second serve, proving decisive.

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