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Tennis: Australian qualifiers boost Wimbledon attendance

Australia are ensuring a strong singles presence at Wimbledon next week after several players qualified for the grasscourt major.

Jason Kubler and Max Purcell boosted Australia’s already strong singles presence at Wimbledon to nine players after winning their way through the playoffs.

Zoe Hives also advanced to the women’s lottery after compatriot Priscilla Hawn withdrew before facing the final round of qualifiers with a sudden bout of food poisoning.

It would be the first appearance of the world’s ranked 572nd Grand Slam champion outside of Australia after reaching the second round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and overcoming the debilitating circulatory disorder that halted her career.

They were two of five Australian women to advance to qualify, along with Madison Inglis, Jimmy Forless and Astra Sharma.

Kobler has now qualified for back-to-back Grand Slams having reached the second round at this year’s French Open, while Purcell will make his Wimbledon debut.

It’s the second year in a row that two Australian men have qualified for Wimbledon, after Chris O’Connell and Mark Pullmans pulled off the feat in 2021.

World number 98 Kobler needed three sets to play each of his first two qualifying matches in nearby Roehampton but was more certain to beat Swede Elias Ymir 6-3 6-2, 6-4 in just two hours.

The second seed also qualified for Wimbledon in 2018 and has made his way back into the top 100 in recent weeks.

It was all the more difficult for Purcell, who recovered from repeated deficits throughout the match to outsmart 122nd seed Nuno Borges 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) and book his All England side. club location.

The 24-year-old sacrificed not defending his points in the semi-finals from Eastbourne this week last year to chase his dream of Wimbledon despite not having any points to seize at the 2022 event.

But Rinke Hijikata could not match the achievement of Kobler and Purcell, as he slipped from the third set lead 5-1 to lose 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) to German Nicolas Kuhn.

Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Thanasy Kokinakis, Alexei Popyrin and John Millman have all received direct entry into the men’s singles draw.

Hives, 25, makes it three Australians competing in the women’s singles, led by Agla Tomljanovic and wildcard holder Daria Savile.

The singles draw will take place on Friday night (Australian time) and matches will begin on Monday.

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