Australian Open: Harriet Dart qualifies for first round


Harriet Dart returns the ball in Australian Open qualifying
Harriet Dart’s best performance at the Australian Open was reaching the second round in 2020
Dates: 17-30 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

Harriet Dart became Britain’s sixth representative in the Australian Open singles draw by winning in the final qualifying round.

Dart won 6-3 6-3 against Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell in Melbourne.

The 25-year-old is in the main draw at the opening Grand Slam of the season for the third time in four years.

Later on Friday, British men’s number four Liam Broady hopes to reach the main draw for the first time by beating Russia’s Roman Safiullin.

Broady, 28, is aiming to join Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans in the men’s singles, while Emma Raducanu and Heather Watson are in the women’s singles.

The main draw starts at Melbourne Park on Monday.

“I’m super happy and pleased to be through,” said Dart, who has come through qualifying at a Grand Slam for the fifth time in her career.

“Playing three matches in qualifying is never easy. I need to put myself in a position where I’m directly entered in the draw.

“Kimberly and I are good friends and practised a lot together but never played against each other. It is never going to be an easy match when you’re playing for a spot in the main draw.”

Dart played at Melbourne Park last week in a warm-up event for the Australian Open, winning two qualifying matches before losing in the first round to former US Open finalist Madison Keys.

“I benefitted from playing last week, getting three matches in under these conditions,” she said.

“I’ve also got the experience of coming through qualifying here twice before, so that helped too.”

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