Birrell earns Open invitation
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.