Americans begin quest to qualify for 2023 Australian Open
Eleven U.S. men and 16 women will take to the courts at Melbourne Park this week bidding for a spot in the main draw of the first Grand Slam of 2023, the Australian Open.
On the men's side, seeds Denis Kudla (No. 6) and Michael Mmoh (No. 9) lead the contingent that's looking to get 2023's Grand Slam season off on the right foot, while Alycia Parks tops a women's qualifying draw that sees five Americans among the 32 seeds.
One American man is assured of reaching Round 2, as there's only one all-American match in either of the two qualifying draws: Mmoh will face wild card Bruno Kuzuhara, the 2022 Australian Open junior boys' singles and doubles champion, in the opening round. Other Round 1 matches to watch from an American perspective include Kudla vs. Aussie Omar Jasika, the 2014 junior US Open boys' singles champion; and Bradley Klahn, entered on an injury-protected ranking for his first Australian Open appearance in four years, vs. Portugal's Frederico Ferreira Silva.
Another American man to key an eye on is former USC star Brandon Holt, son of Hall of Famer Tracy Austin. Holt made a splash in his last Grand Slam appearance at the 2022 US Open. As a qualifying wild card, he won three matches to reach the main draw before stunning Taylor Fritz, then ranked No. 12, in the first round. He faces No. 3 seed Radu Albot of Moldova in the first round.
First Rounds for American Men in 2023 AO Qualifying
(6) Denis Kudla vs. Omar Jasika (AUS)
(9) Michael Mmoh vs. Bruno Kuzuhara
Brandon Holt vs. (3) Radu Albot (MDA)
Ernesto Escobedo vs. (23) Luca Nardi (ITA)
Nicolas Moreno de Alboran vs. (29) Timofey Skatov (KAZ)
Aleksandar Kovacevic vs. Carlos Taberner (ESP)
Stefan Kozlov vs. Oleksii Krutykh (UKR)
Emilio Nava vs. Andrea Vavassori (ITA)
Mitchell Krueger vs. Flavio Cobolli (ITA)
Bradley Klahn vs. Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR)
On the women's side, Parks drew the hard luck of just missing out on the main draw. Having ended 2022 on a 10-match winning streak, Parks enters qualiying well inside the Top 100 at No. 75; because her title-winning runs at the WTA 125 events in Andorra and Angers, France came in December after the entry deadline for the Australian Open, she'll need to win three matches if she hopes to make her main-draw debut at Melbourne Park.
She opens against Australian wild card Alexandra Bozovic, ranked No. 304, and could need to navigate past two of the game's most talented teenagers, Sara Bejlek and Erika Andreeva, to book a main-draw place.
The four other Americans seeded in women'a qualifying are Katie Volynets (No. 11), Elizabeth Mandlik (No. 21), CoCo Vandeweghe (No. 23) and Ann Li (No. 24). Notable first-round matches to feature U.S. women include 18-year-old Ashlyn Krueger vs. 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard; 2021 US Open junior girls' champion Robin Montgomery vs. Argentina's Maria Carle, a former college star for the University of Georgia; and Maryland's Sophie Chang vs. No. 6 seed and former Top 20 player Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
First Rounds for American Women in 2023 AO Qualifying
(1) Alycia Parks vs. (WC) Alexandra Bozovic (AUS)
(11) Katie Volynets vs. Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO)
(21) Elizabeth Mandlik vs. Sonay Kartal (GBR)
(23) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Arina Rodionova (AUS)
(24) Ann Li vs. Raluca Serban (CYP)
Sophie Chang vs. (6) Ana Konjuh (CRO)
Caroline Dolehide vs. (30) Katie Boulter (GBR)
Louisa Chirico vs. (32) Nao Hibino (JPN)
Katrina Scott vs. Priscilla Hon (AUS)
Ashlyn Krueger vs. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)
Sachia Vickery vs. Kathinka von Deichmann (LIE)
Hailey Baptiste vs. Yuriko Miyazaki (GBR)
Robin Montgomery vs. Maria Carle (ARG)
Kayla Day vs. Ekaterina Makarova
Robin Anderson vs. Selena Janicijevic (FRA)
Asia Muhammad vs. Paula Ormaechea (ARG)
Australian Open qualifying begins on Jan. 9, and the main draw begins on Jan. 16.
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