Rising Australian players Rinky Hijikata and Jaimee Fourlis will make their US Open main draw singles debuts this year.
New York, USA, 18 August 2022 | tennis.com.au
Rinky Hijikata and Jaimee Fourlis are set to make their US Open main draw debuts after receiving wildcards for the final Grand Slam tournament of the season.
The 21-year-old Hijikata is enjoying a breakout season and currently sits at a career-high ranking of No.199. The Sydney talent scored his first ATP main draw win at Los Cabos earlier this month, then put up an impressive challenge against world No.1 and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
It was the second ATP tournament Hijikata had qualified for this season, matching his effort at the Melbourne Summer Set in January where he recorded a career-first top-100 win to earn his tour-level main draw debut.
Hijikata is excited to now add a maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance, a feat he almost achieved at Wimbledon with a final qualifying round run, to his growing list of 2022 accomplishments.
“I’m really pumped and couldn’t believe it at first, it’s a dream come true to play the main draw of a Slam and I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” Hijikata said when told he’d been awarded the wildcard.
“This is the first time I will have played in New York since playing in the juniors in 2019, so it gives me a bit of comfort knowing I’ve played on those courts before, in those conditions. And New York in general has such a good buzz around the city, it’s a great place and because I was at college, I feel like it’s kind of my second home.
“It’s also great to know that all my hard work has been paying off, and this really validates all the work I’ve put in. I’ve played a lot of matches, a lot of tournaments, travelled to a lot of countries and it’s been a bit of a grind, so being awarded a wildcard makes it all 100 per cent worth it.”
Thiem time ⏰
Former champion @domithiem headlines our 2022 men’s singles wild cards.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 17, 2022
Fourlis has built a 42-18 win-loss record this season and impressively won 21 of her past 27 matches. This includes a successful qualifying campaign at Wimbledon and three finals appearances at ITF level.
This striking form has seen the 22-year-old from Melbourne improve her ranking more than 180 places since January, skyrocketing to a career-high No.147 last month.
Fourlis, who underwent a shoulder reconstruction in March 2020, has competed in US Open qualifying on three previous occasions. Her best results were final round appearances in both 2018 and 2019.
“Super excited and grateful to be awarded the wildcard for the US Open,” said Fourlis, who is currently the No.4-ranked Australian woman.
“I’ve played in New York a couple times now and have always loved going back, it’s such a special place. My team and I have put in a lot of hard work the last couple years with so many ups and downs, so it means a lot to be awarded a main draw wildcard in a Slam, hopefully I can make everyone proud and I’ll give it my best.”
US Open main draw wildcards:
Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin, CoCo Vandeweghe, Elizabeth Mandlik, Peyton Stearns and Eleana Yu, Harmony Tan, Jaimee Fourlis.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) August 17, 2022
Hijikata and Fourlis boost the number of Australians entered in this year’s US Open main draws to 13.
World No.20 Alex de Minaur and Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios lead the Aussie charge in the men’s singles competition, joined by James Duckworth, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin, John Millman, Chris O’Connell, Jordan Thompson and Jason Kubler. While Wimbledon quarterfinalist Ajla Tomljanovic and the resurgent Daria Saville have received direct entry into the women’s singles competition.
In the newly expanded wheelchair competition, world No.5 Heath Davidson will represent Australia in the quad wheelchair events, with world No.6 junior Saalim Naser also set to compete in his first Grand Slam and inaugural US Open junior wheelchair competition.
Three Australian juniors Jeremy Jin, Taylah Preston and Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz will compete in the US Open junior main draw competition from 4-10 September, while Edward Winter will contest juniors qualifying from 2 September.
The US Open begins on 29 August 2022, with the qualifying competition held next week.
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