Bir­rell earns Open in­vi­ta­tion

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

QUEENS­LAND teenager Kim­berly Bir­rell has earned a shot at qual­i­fy­ing for Jan­uary’s Aus­tralian Open.

Bir­rell, 19, missed much of last year be­cause of el­bow surgery but a string of good re­sults in sec­ond-tier events was enough to be handed a berth in the qual­i­fy­ing rounds for the first Grand Slam of 2018.

“Earn­ing a wild­card to the Aus­tralian Open was a big goal of mine for the Pro Tour,” Bir­rell said.

“But I was try­ing not to think about it too much when I was play­ing and just wanted to fo­cus on one match at a time, get­ting my rank­ing up and try­ing to get as many matches as pos­si­ble un­der my belt.

“I haven’t had much time to think about my goals for the Aus­tralian Open. It hasn’t re­ally sunk in that I’ll be play­ing.

“I’m just re­ally ex­cited to have this op­por­tu­nity. Any- time I’m out on the court, do­ing what I love, I just try to en­joy it. I feel re­ally lucky.

“Hope­fully I can make the most of this op­por­tu­nity, play well and qual­ify for the main draw.”

Mean­while, Mel­bourne’s Olivia Ro­gowska has been re­warded for a run of strong per­for­mances with a wild­card into the Open.

Ranked 186th in the world, Ro­gowska earned a dis­cre­tionary in­vi­ta­tion. IN FORM: Kim­berly Bir­rell has re­cov­ered from in­jury.

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