Teenager Ashleigh Barty and veteran Anastasia Rodionova have qualified for the US Open, boosting Australia’s representation to 12 players at the grand slam.
Teenage prodigy Ashleigh Barty has chosen the bright lights of New York to announce her arrival on the biggest stage in tennis.
Barty and veteran Anastasia Rodionova boosted Australia’s US Open stocks to a dozen representatives with successful qualification for the women’s event on Friday.
Barty’s impressive 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 victory over Melanie Oudin, the one-time great hope of American tennis, marked a major breakthrough for the 18-year-old Queenslander.
A Wimbledon junior champion at 15 and three-times grand slam doubles runner-up by 17, Barty had yet to make her mark in singles against the big girls.
But now, after being gift-wrapped wildcard invitations to all eight of her previous grand slam singles events, Barty has finally earned her own way into her maiden major.
Barty climbed to a career-high No.129 in the world after reaching the second round at Flushing Meadows last year, but has dropped to 186th in the standings.
Despite her undoubted potential, Tennis Australia awarded its US Open wildcard this year to Jarmila Gajdosova, leaving Barty to go to work in the Big Apple.
Successive sudden-death wins over Noppowan Lertcheewakarn, Caitlin Whoriskey and 26th seed Oudin, who made a dream run to the quarter-finals as a 17-year-old in 2009, booked Barty a ticket into the 128-strong draw.
“Happy to get through to main draw here in NYC! Love the US Open,” Barty tweeted.
Rodiovona will make her eighth consecutive Open appearance after beating Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp 6-4 6-3 in her final-round qualifying match.
The 32-year-old has achieved her best grand slam results at Flushing Meadows, making the third round in 2006 and 2009.
Barty and Rodionova join 2011 champion Samantha Stosur, 29th seed Casey Dellacqua, Gajdosova and Ajla Tomljanovic in the women’s draw.
There are also six Australians in the men’s singles – 2001 winner Lleyton Hewitt, former junior champion Bernard Tomic, young gun Nick Kyrgios, along with Marinko Matosevic, Matt Ebden and Sam Groth.
The final major of the season gets underway on Monday.