Harriet Dart defeats Kimberly Birrell to qualify for Australian Open | Tennis News

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  Harriet Dart defeats Kimberly Birrell to qualify for Australian Open |  Tennis News

Dart becomes sixth British player set to compete at Australian Open, which begins Monday, alongside Emma Raducanu, Heather Watson, Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Liam Broady, who also made it through to the main draw

Harriet Dart clinched her place in the main tournament with victory in her final qualifier

The British No 3 overcame the Australian wild card 6-3 6-3 in the final round to qualify for a Grand Slam for the fifth time in her career.

Harriet Dart came through qualifying to reach the Australian Open for the third time in four years as she beat Kimberly Birrell to book her spot in the main tournament at Melbourne Park. 

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Dart, ranked world 125, had seen off Italy’s Federica Di Sarra and Alycia Parks of American earlier in the week before winning her decider against Birrell in one hour and 47 minutes.

“I’m just super happy and pleased to be through,” she said. “I always knew it was going to be a really tough match. We’re good friends and we’ve practiced a lot together but never actually played a match.

“I think I benefited from playing last week here, I got three matches under these conditions. I guess I’ve got the experience of coming through twice here before so I definitely think that helped me today.” Dart won 25 of 38 first-serve points to Birrell’s 14 of 35, while saving five of nine break points to her opponents’ six of 13, finishing with 26 unforced errors compared to the Australian’s 36 and winning 60 per cent of first return points to just 34 per cent.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Andrew Castle feels Emma Raducanu needs to rebuild again after her historic US Open win. The Brit has been drawn against USA’s Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open

Andrew Castle feels Emma Raducanu needs to rebuild again after her historic US Open win. The Brit has been drawn against USA’s Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open The 25-year-old had fallen short in the first round of qualifying for the tournament last year having reached the second round in 2020, where she was beaten by Simona Halep, and losing to Maria Sharapova on debut in the first round back in 2019.

Liam Broady followed suit later in the day as the British men’s No 4 came from a set down to beat Russia’s Roman Safiullin 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to qualify for the Australian Open main draw for the first time in his career. He will take on home hope Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster opening round clash in Melbourne.

Dart, who will face former Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek in her first-round match, became the sixth British player set to compete in the tournament, which begins Monday, alongside Emma Raducanu, Heather Watson, Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans. “It shows I need to be not in qualifying any more and try to put myself in a position where I can be directly in, because playing three matches against good players is never easy.”