128 players will descend on the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Complex this January with hopes of qualifying for the Australian Open.
With only 16 spots up for grabs and a challenging playing field to wade through, it’ll be all or nothing for players looking to bag a spot in the main draw for the grand slam.
“From the beginning of all our planning for the Australian Open, our objective has been to provide the players with as many competition opportunities, and the ability to earn prize money, as we possibly could,” said Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley.
Players will need to win 3 qualifying matches in order to qualify for the Australian Open.
But it won’t be an easy task.
Several big-name players, including Timea Babos (HUN), Stefanie Voegele (SWI) and Eugenie Bouchard (CAN), have all confirmed they will be playing in Dubai this January.
Reigning Australian Open and French Open doubles champion, Timea Babos, has had an awesome year and will be wanting to snowball her form in 2020 into the Australian Open Qualifiers in January.
Meanwhile, Stefanie Voegele, ranked 116 in the WTA charts will also be looking to go one better her disappointing qualifying finals exit in January. Although Voegele quickly reacted this season and upped her game to make it to the finals at Newport Beach in February.Embed from Getty Images
Eugenie Bouchard also returns to compete at the event after the Canadian lost out in the finals of the 2020 Qualifiers to Martina Trevisan. The 26-year-old has a point to prove and has been in flying form reaching the finals of the BNP Paribas Championships in Istanbul in September.
It’ll also be an exciting time for Tennis Australia to show off some of their best young tennis talents.
Nine Australians are set to compete in Dubai, including, Kimberly Birrell, Ellen Perez, Seone Mendez, Abbie Myers, Storm Sanders, Ivana Popovic, Olivia Gadecki, Charlotte Kempanaers-Pocz, and Alexandra Bozovic.
2020 has been a tough year for many Australian players; faced with strict border measures that have limited their ability to travel to international tournaments.
To help those Aussies get back competing, Tennis Australia have committed to support them financially during the Australian Open Qualifiers.
“We’ve increased the prize money for qualifying, so not only are we going to support the Aussies financially, if they lose in the first round they can make $24,000, if they lose in the final round they can make $54,000, and if they qualify or get a wild card and lose in the first round of the Australian Open they can make $100,000 so the payday is pretty good, and we’ve done that to offset some of the payments,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
At 20-years-old, Kimberly Birrell had an impressive run in the 2019 edition of the Australian Open, making the third round as a wildcard entry. Unfortunately, Birrell suffered a nasty elbow injury that forced her to sit out the remainder of the 2019 and 2020 season.
Now fit and ready to play, she’ll be rearing to bounce back from her injury woe and improve her 2019 performance in 2021. Birrell is our one to watch in Dubai.
We’ll also be keeping our eyes on doubles duo Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders who have both had a great year on the doubles circuit. Sanders, in particular, picked up the doubles championships in Hua Hin in February with Arina Rodionova.
They’ll be joined by former doubles world No.1 and two-time Australian Open winner Sara Errani (ITA), another big name who’ll be looking to improve on her current 131 singles ranking.
18-year-old Clara Tauson (DEN) and 20-year-old Liang En-Shuo (TPE) will be the youngest competitors at the Qualifiers. Both have already experienced success down under, winning the 2019 and 2018 Australian Open Girls’ Titles respectively.
“Qualifying is always a great opportunity for our players to earn their place in the main draw, but it’s certainly a unique situation having to travel overseas to compete,” Tennis Australia Director of Performance Wally Masur said.Embed from Getty Images
In a year of firsts, this will be the first-ever time the Australian Open Qualifiers will have been held off-shore.
“It’s been an unusual year for all players, and the best results will come to players who can quickly adapt, and translate all of their hard work from pre-season and training into competitive match play.”
“I’m expecting all of our Aussies to put their best foot forward for this opportunity, and I wish our players the best of luck competing in Dubai and Doha.”
The draw for the women’s Qualifiers will be held on the 9 January, with the tournament set to take place the following day.
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