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Kokkinakis, Sharma qualify for Aus Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis will face Japan's Taro Daniel in the first round of the Australian Open after qualifying for the main draw at Melbourne Park.

Kokkinakis, Sharma qualify for Aus Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis will face Japan's Taro Daniel in the first round of the Australian Open after qualifying for the main draw at Melbourne Park.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia serves in his singles match against David Goffin of Belgium in the 2018 Hopman Cup at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.
THANASI KOKKINAKIS of Australia serves in his singles match against David Goffin of Belgium in the 2018 Hopman Cup at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. Picture:Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Perth native Astra Sharma has claimed an epic qualifying victory to join Thanasi Kokkinakis in advancing to the main draw of the Australian Open.

Sharma saved five match points during Friday's final-round qualifier against Russia's Irina Khromacheva before prevailing 5-7 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (12-10) in two hours and 46 minutes.


She will face fellow Australian Priscilla Hon in the first round at Melbourne Park.

Sharma's maiden grand slam berth comes after she claimed a major upset victory over former Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonereva in the first round of qualifying.

The 23-year-old had to do things the hard way, saving three match points in the second set and two in the third as Khromacheva battled severe hand and leg cramps.

Her qualifying triumph after losing in the wildcard playoff final swells local representation in the main draws of the season-opening major to 22.

Kokkinakis earlier defeated Canada's Peter Polansky 6-4 6-4, securing a main draw berth after being surprisingly overlooked for a wildcard entry.

One of just eight men to defeat Roger Federer in 2018, the South Australian will meet Japan's world No.78 Taro Daniel in the first round.

After battling injuries, most notably shoulder issues, Kokkinakis was granted a wildcard into last year's Australian Open but lost a four-set match to Russian Daniil Medvedev.

He hasn't returned to the main draw of a major since, falling in qualifying for the 2018 French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

Nakitha Bains fell short in her final qualifier on Friday, losing to France's Jessika Ponchet in straight sets.

AAP


AAP




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