Aussie girls in breakthrough wins
TENNIS: Home-grown hopes Zoe Hives, Kimberly Birrell and Astra Sharma are savouring the most significant wins of their careers at Melbourne Park.
Hives defied her world ranking of No.225 to upstage seasoned American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1 6-2 while fellow wildcard entrant Birrell joined her in the second round with a 6-4 6-2 defeat of Spanish qualifier Paula Badosa Gibert.
WA qualifier Sharma also tasted grand slam victory for the first time, outlasting good friend, Queensland wildcard Priscilla Hon, 7-5 4-6 6-1 in oppressive heat.
All will enjoy a significant rankings rise and at least $85,000 in prizemoney.
Hives, a 22-year-old from Ballarat making her grand slam debut, plays French 19th seed Carolina Garcia tomorrow.
“I’m still processing it a bit but, yeah, amazing,” Hives said.
Hailing from the same Southport tennis centre as Samantha Stosur and Bernard Tomic, Birrell will play Croatian Donna Vekic next.
Sharma will play either Greece’s Maria Sakkari or French Open 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko.
WINNER: Astra Sharma plays a forehand.