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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday January 15, 2020


Not only did we get three very interesting tournaments last week—won by Aryna Sabalenka (Abu Dhabi), Alex de Minaur (Antalya) and Hubert Hurkacz (Delray Beach)—we also saw the qualifying draws for the men’s and women’s singles events at the Australian Open determined at Doha (men) and Dubai (Women).

Tennis Express

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, qualifying was not held in Melbourne this year, in order to diminish the amount of players and support staff that travelled to Australia and went through the mandatory quarantine. This means that for the first time qualifiers will have three weeks between their final qualification matches and their first round matches in the main draw.

Could it make a difference in their results?

It creates an interesting dynamic. It is generally believed that qualifiers are dangerous first-round opponents because they have all gone through three matches on site and therefore have grown accustomed to the conditions and are basically entering the main draw hot, on a three-match winning streak. So how will that be different in 2021? For one, the conditions in Doha and Dubai are not likely to be very similar to those encountered in Melbourne, so that advantage is gone, plus all main draw contestants will be on site and practicing for at least two weeks.

But there is one advantage for the qualifiers: All players get time off to rest, and that could be very important for someone like Bernard Tomic, who played three three-setters to qualify and likely wouldn’t have had much left by the time he played his first-round match. This year, Tomic gets three weeks to recharge his batteries.

It will be interesting to see if he can make the most of it.

Let’s have a quick look at all 32 qualifiers (16 in the men’s and 16 in the women’s draw) now. 12 of the 32 qualifiers are gunning for their first main draw win at a Slam next month in Melbourne, and seven Grand Slam main draw debuts.

Frederico Ferreira Silva, 25, 182, Portugal

Making major main draw debut. He underwent hip surgery in 2019 and lost in qualifying at Roland Garros and the Australian Open last year. This was his fourth attempt to qualify at a Slam.

Carlos Alcaraz, 17, 141, Spain

Making heralded Grand Slam debut. Across his final six ATP Challenger Tour events in 2020, Alcaraz, who is coached by former Grand Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, compiled a 20-3 record and won three trophies from four finals.

Aslan Kratsev, 27, 112, Russia

Making main draw major debut, the Russian was 0 for his first 9 qualifying attempts. He is 3-10 lifetime at tour level.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, 35, 201, Ukraine

Veteran of 36 main draws at majors, Stakhovsky is a former World No.33 who last won a match at a major at Wimbledon in 2018.

Elias Ymer, 24, 204, Sweden

A veteran of Grand Slam qualies (14 attempts, 5 success). He is 0-2 in main draw matches at the Australian Open.

Quentin Halys, 24, 206, France

Halys is 2-9 lifetime at the majors and has lost his last seven main draw matches at the Slams.

Kimmer Coppejans, 26, 175, Belgium

The 26-year-old is still searching for his first win (0-2) at a major.

Michael Mmoh, 23, 174, USA

Slight uptrend with the American’s game. He’s won two main draw matches at his last three Slams (2-8 lifetime at the majors), including one last year at the Australian Open, where he beat Pablo Andujar before losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in four.

Tomas Machac, 20, 197 Czech Republic

Machac has now qualied at successive Slams. He also made the main draw at Roland Garros last year and feel to Taylor Fritz in five. He is seeking his first main draw win at any level.

Mario Vilella Martinez, 25, 186, Spain

The Spaniard qualified at last year’s Australian Open and was defeated by Karen Khachanov in four sets. He has yet to win a main draw match at the ATP level.

Viktor Troicki, 34, 202, Serbia

Troicki, a former World No.12, owns 50 main draw wins at the Slams. The last of those came in Melbourne in 2019, also after a qualifying run. He is 13-11 lifetime at the Australian Open and has never been past the third round.

Roman Safiullin, 23, 181, Russia

The Russian, who played juniors with the big Russian talents of his generation, has entered his first Grand Slam main draw. He owns one tour-level victory.

Botic Van de Sandschulp, 25, 156, Netherlands

Third time qualifying was a charm for Van de Sandschulp. He is now into his first Grand Slam main draw after two previous attempts to qualify at the majors. He does not own an ATP win.

Bernard Tomic, 28, 228, Australia

Here’s a familiar name! The former World No.17 is back in the mix after winning three three-setters in qualies. He owns a 17-10 lifetime record at Melbourne. And three trips to the round of 16 (2012 2015-16).

Henri Laaksonen, 28, 133, Switzerland

The former World No. 93 owns three Grand Slam victories (3-6) including one at the Australian Open in 2019.

Maxime Cressy, 23, 168, USA

This serve-and-volley throwback has never cracked the Top 150. He won his only Grand Slam match (and lots of fans, due to the aforementioned S&V) at the 2019 US Open (1-1 lifetime at Slams).

And now a look at the WTA Qualifiers:

Kaja Juvan, 20, 104, Slovenia

Making sixth Grand Slam main draw appearance. Took Serena Williams to three sets in the second round at Wimbledon on her major main draw debut in 2019.

Francesca Jones, 20, 241, Great Britain

Making first Slam appearance. Jones has ectrodactyly ectodermal dysplasia syndrome, a rare genetic condition. She was born with three fingers and a thumb on each hand, four toes on her left foot and three toes on her right foot.

Greet Minnen, 23, 110, Belgium

Minnen is making her fourth Slam appearance and reached the second round at Melbourne last year (her only previous win at a major).

Sara Errani, 33, 131, Italy

Errani ended the comeback bid of Ana Konjuh in the last round of qualifying. The Italian was a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open in 2012.

Whitney Osuigwe, 18, 161, USA

0-4 lifetime at the Slams.

Clara Burel, 19, 236, France

Third Slam appearance – she reached the third round at Roland Garros last year.

Timea Babos, 27, 115, Hungary

The veteran and doubles stalwart is making her 32nd Grand Slam doubles appearance. Mayo Hibi, 24, 182, Japan

Making Australian Open debut, lost in first round at 2015 US Open in only other Grand Slam appearance.

Olga Danilovic, 19, 183, Serbia

Owns a WTA title and a career-best ranking of 96, but never played a Slam main draw.

Chloe Paquet, 26, 187, France

First appearance outside of Roland Garros (1-4).

Rebecca Marino, 30, 312, Canada

Last Grand Slam appearance: 2013 Australian Open. Best? 2011 Roland Garros, round three.

Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, 132, Italy

0-1 lifetime at main draw Grand Slam matches (2020 AO, R1)

Valeria Savinykh, 29, 225, Russia

Last Grand Slam appearance: 2013, where she reached the third round at the Australian Open.

Tsvetana Pironkova, 33, 136 Bulgaria

Reached quarterfinals at US Open and third round at Roland-Garros last year.

Liudmila Samsonova, 22, 127, Russia

0-4 lifetime in main draw matches at majors.

Mayar Sherif, 24, 128, Egypt

First Egyptian to ever qualify for Australian Open main draw.

 

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