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The 2023 Australian Open qualifying event wrapped up on Thursday with 16 men and 16 women earning their place in the main draw. Several UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) stars have made the trip Down Under and have either battled in qualifying or are gearing up for the main draw, which starts on Monday.
For those curious about what level Grand Slam qualifiers are at, in case you're aspiring to reach similar heights, the average UTR Rating of the women’s qualifiers was 11.90, and the average for the men was 14.55.
Ambassadors in Australian Open Qualifying
Universal Tennis ambassadors Marcela Zacarias and Li Tu both played in the qualifying event, with Tu winning his first match at the Grand Slam level in his third Australian Open appearance. The 26-year-old took out No. 25 seed Jozef Kovalík in the first round before falling to Laurent Lokoli. Tu enters the 2023 season on a high after winning his first ATP Challenger in October and cracking the Top 200 in the ATP rankings for the first time.
Repeat Performance in Australian Open Qualifying
Brandon Holt, a former champion on the PTT tour in Naples, defeated Marco Trungelliti to make his Australian Open main draw debut. The 24-year-old American, who graduated from USC in 2020, appeared in the US Open last year after qualifying. He would stun Taylor Fritz to capture his first major main draw victory.
“It’s a different feeling than the US Open, that was closer to home, a lot of family there,” Holt told press in Melbourne. “This is just as special, earning my way in without a wildcard, passing them all. It feels so good. To qualify for a second Grand Slam in a row is pretty special.”
Australian Open Qualifying Highlights
Tristan Schoolkate, a 2021 PTT champion in Atlanta, made his way to the final round of qualifying. The 21-year-old Australian ultimately lost to 32-year-old German Jan-Lennard Struff, once ranked No. 29 in the ATP rankings. Other qualifiers with rich resumes like Struff’s include two-time Grand Slam semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, Lesia Tsurenko, Nicolas Jarry, and Universal Tennis’ junior player of the year in 2022, Brenda Fruhvirtova.
Fruhvirtova, just 15 years old, joins her older sister Linda in the main draw. Another sister act was made possible when 19-year-old Polina Kudermetova qualified for her first Grand Slam. Her sister Veronika Kudermetova is the No. 9 seed.
Another former PTT competitor, Katie Volynets, got through all three matches of the qualifying event to secure her place in her sixth Grand Slam main draw. The 21-year-old California native competed on the PTT in 2021 and has steadily climbed the ranks, reaching as high as No. 109 on the WTA Tour last year.
Looking Forward to the Main Draw
A slew of PTT players will be in the main draw thanks to wild cards, including Rinky Hijikata, Dane Sweeny, Kimberly Birrell, Alexandra Bozovic, Jason Kubler, and Taylor Townsend, who used the PTT to kick off her comeback tour last season.
Pedro Cachin, Jenson Brooksby, and Ben Shelton will also all appear in the main draw. Shelton reached the final of a PTT in Bradenton, Fla., before winning the team NCAA title for the University of Florida. He would win the individual NCAA championship in 2022 and turn pro.
The Australian Open men's and women's main draws were also revealed on Thursday, and Universal Tennis will have those previews next with the help of INSIGHTS, a predictability and analytics application available with a Power subscription.
Learn More About the PTT
The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.
For more information about UTR PTT and to see all of the results, click here.