Australia will have nine lives at the US Open after Anastasia Rodionova marched through qualifying for the loss of just 11 games in three matches.
Rodionova secured her main-draw entry with a 6-1 6-2 rout of Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg on Friday.
The feisty 29-year-old joins defending champion Samantha Stosur, Jarmila Gajdosova, Casey Dellacqua and wildcard Olivia Rogowska as Australia’s hopefuls in the 128-woman draw for the final grand slam of the year starting on Monday.
Rodionova, who has twice reached the third round in New York, will open against American Julia Cohen as she strives to break her major duck in 2012.
The Russian-born veteran lost in the opening round of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon to tumble down the rankings to a lowly No.161 in the world.
But she will report for duty on Monday full of confidence after stringing together three successive wins for the first time in precisely a year.
Rodionova was the only one of six Australians to survive qualifying, with Sacha Jones, Monique Adamczak, Brydan Klein, James Duckworth and John-Patrick Smith all coming unstuck.
Presuming she negotiates a path past Croatian Petra Martic, Stosur’s projected second-round opponent was also confirmed after Friday’s completion of the qualifying tournament.
If she beats the 65th-ranked Martic for the second time in as many attempts, seventh seed Stosur will face either Romanian qualifier Edina Gallovits-Hall or Swiss Stefanie Voegele for a spot in the last 32.
In 2012, Stosur has struggled to rediscover the magic of her fairytale run to last year’s title in New York, a first-round loss in Melbourne and second-round defeat at Wimbledon sandwiching her semi-final season highlight at Roland Garros in June.
“It’s been a year of a few ups and downs, but a lot of players go through that,” Stosur said.
“In the last few weeks, being on hard court, I feel a lot better and a lot more comfortable on this surface. It’s conditions that suit my game, so I’m glad to be back here.”
Gajdosova has a tough opener against Russian 19th seed Nadia Petrova, Dellacqua has a golden opportunity to continue her strong form against Ukraine’s qualifier Lesia Tsurenko and Rogowska meets Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella.
Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic plays unseeded Argentine Carlos Berlocq for a likely second-round clash with 2003 men’s champion American Andy Roddick, the 20th seed in his possible US Open swansong.
Wildcard Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion preparing for his 12th Open tilt, faces Germany’s world No.92 Tobias Kamke after missing last year’s event with a foot injury that eventually required career-saving surgery.
Marinko Matosevic takes on Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic and Matthew Ebden plays Japan’s Tatsuma Ito.
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