Gold Coast teenager Kimberly Birrell is eyeing an Australian Open wildcard after winning her first WTA tour main draw match at the Hobart International.
After securing a wildcard entry into Hobart the 17-year-old defeated world No.57 Danka Kovinic from Montenegro 6-4 6-3 to book a second round battle with former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova.
The teenager admitting post-match that an entry into her home grand slam is at the forefront of her mind
“I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t (crossed my mind) but I’m trying not to think about it too much,” Birrell said.
“I think there’s still a couple of wildcards up for grabs but all I can do is just play tennis and concentrate on my game, try my best … I’m definitely going to be playing qualifiers.”
Birrell finished Year 12 in November and is making her third trip to Hobart where she has failed on two previous occasions to make the main draw from qualifying.
“My dad is a tennis coach and my mum has played tennis all her life so I’ve grown up around tennis courts following my dad around and my mum and dad run a tennis centre,” the current world No.368 said.
Third-seeded Cibulkova defeated Sydney-born Briton Johanna Konta 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 in her first round and is wary of Birrell.
“I will be prepared really well because three years ago at the US Open I played first round against a 15-year-old and I thought she might be nervous and it will be an easy match and suddenly it wasn’t easy and I lost,” Cibulkova said.
Former world No.5 Eugenie Bouchard is also among the list of day-two winners and her expectations might have raised a little after an impressive performance.
The Canadian, on the comeback from injury, easily overcame veteran American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2 6-1.
“I just try to focus on each point and I want to continue my form this week,” Bouchard said, adding that she’s healthy and free from any ill-effects stemming from the concussion she suffered during a fall at September’s US Open.
Her next match is against Belgian world No.44 Alison Van Uytvanck.
Australian Jarmila Wolfe’s Hobart campaign ended on Monday in a tight three-setter 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 with Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka.
In other day-two action No.5 seed Madison Brengle withdrew from her match against qualifier Kiki Bertens.
The American later cited a respiratory illness.
German Mona Barthel defeated Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4 6-4.
Defending champion Heather Watson meets Teliana Pereira late on Monday.