The 2015 WTA season is officially underway, as qualifying action at the 2015 Brisbane International Tennis has kicked off.
The Queensland Tennis Centre was buzzing with activity on Friday, as 32 players started their quest to make the tournament’s main draw that will commence on Sunday. The 16 matches provided plenty of action to keep spectators entertained, especially since several local Australian girls were in the spotlight today.
The first Aussie to take the court was Daria Gavrilova, the Russia-born player who has recently won the Australian Open wildcard playoff tournament, earning her a main draw spot in this month’s Grand Slam tournament. Gavrilova’s victorious ways continued on Friday, as the 20-year old beat Danka Kovinic 7-6 6-3, getting her one step closer to the Brisbane Tennis International main draw.
Following Gavrilova was an all-Aussie battle featuring Anastasia Rodionova and Storm Sanders. After losing the first set, the 20-year old Sanders rallied back to force a deciding set against her experienced countrywoman. The third set was a very close affair, as Storm Sanders pushed the 12-years older Rodionova to the brink of defeat before Rodionova’s experience prevailed.
Another Rodionova was in the spotlight later — Alia Rodinova tried to follow her sister into the second round of qualifying. Rodionova’s match against Kimiko Date-Krumm ended in a remarkable fashion, but certainly not the way the Australian fans had hoped for. At first, the match between the Japanese veteran and the local favorite was usual business with Date-Krumm taking the first set 6-3 and working up a comfortable lead in the second set. Date-Krumm failed to close out the match and Rodionova fought hard to stay in the match until a controversial line call at 5-3 in the second set. With no hawkeye available during the qualifying rounds, all arguing was in vain as Date-Krumm sealed the deal with the following match point, sending Rodionova into another fit as she declined to shake the umpires hand after the match.
Other victorious players on Friday included Poland’s Paula Kania, Maryna Zanevska, Virginie Razzano and Leisa Tsurenko. The Ukranian beat Germany’s Tatiana Maria, who’s working her way back up the rankings following her pregnancy time-out early into the 2014 season.
The second round of qualifying will continue tomorrow, as Brisbane gears up for the start of main draw play on Sunday. Keep checking back for all the latest coverage from Down Under!