For the young and upcoming players, there is nothing more satisfying than competing at a Major event and practicing around the world's leading players. Things are even better if a young gun can experience the main stage action, and the 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova is undoubtedly in that group.
The Czech teenager has been competing in the qualifying round of the previous five Major events, gathering experience and passing three challenges at three. Brenda did that in Melbourne a year ago at 15 and repeated the feat this week, booking a place in the main draw of her third Major at 16.
Fruhvirtova started her second Australian Open journey with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over the home player with a wild card, Petra Hule. Brenda fired eight aces and outplayed her opponent behind the first serve. A teenager denied two out of four break points and grabbed four breaks from seven chances.
Brenda overpowered Petra in the shortest range up to four strokes, especially in her games. The Czech attacked and tamed her strokes nicely en route to an opening victory. Both players served well in the opening six games, with no chances for the returners.
Fruhvirtova stepped in on the return in game seven, delivering a break at love following Hule's unforced errors and forging the advantage. Brenda held at 15 in game eight and created two set points on the return in game nine.
Petra saved them and prolonged the battle before Brenda produced a hold at 15 for a 6-4. The Czech grabbed three straight breaks at the beginning of the second set, earning a break at love in game five and holding at love in the next one for 5-1.
Hule fought back with a break in game eight, fending off two match points and pulling one break back. However, Fruhvirtova notched a hold at love at 5-4 to seal the deal and move into the second round. A teenager faced another home player with a wild card in the second round, playing for two hours and two minutes in a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Talia Gibson.
Brenda Fruhvirtova will compete at her third Major event at 16.
The home favorite won eight points more than the young gun after a dominant performance in the opener. However, Brenda recovered, saved a match point at 4-5 in the final set and rattled off three games for a place in the final qualifying round.
Both players earned three breaks, with nothing to separate them in the closing stages. The Aussie was the only player on the court in the opener, securing a double break and clinching it 6-1. They traded breaks in the middle of the second set, and Fruhvirtova scored another at 4-3, winning three straight games to force a decider.
Talia played better, serving well and challenging Brenda in games eight and ten. The young Czech saved a break point at 3-4 and a match point at 4-5. A teenager gathered a boost and delivered the decisive break of serve in game 11, serving for the victory at 6-5.
Fruhvirtova held at 30 to seal the deal and move into the last qualifying round. Brenda saved the best for last, ousting Sijia Wei 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes, entering the main draw at Melbourne Park for the second straight year.
Fruhvirtova made the difference with her first serve, losing serve three times and scoring six return games from seven opportunities. The Czech raced into a 5-0 lead in the opener and closed it 6-2. Brenda forged an early 2-0 advantage in the second set before they traded four consecutive breaks in the middle games.
Fruhvirtova ended that run with a hold in game eight and delivered another at 5-4 to move into the main draw. Brenda will seek her first Major victory against Ana Bogdan.