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Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Saturday, 17 January 2009

Baltacha & O'Brien into Open draw

Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
Coverage: BBC Red Button, BBC One & Two (including all Andy Murray matches), Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website (Red Button coverage streamed on website throughout fortnight)

Elena Baltacha and Katie O'Brien
Baltacha & O'Brien join Melanie South and Anne Keothavong in round one

British pair Elena Baltacha and Katie O'Brien have qualified for the main draw of the Australian Open, to join Anne Keothavong and Melanie South.

It is the first time four British women have made the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament - excluding Wimbledon - since the US Open in 1992.

Baltacha qualified by beating Jelena Kostanic Tosic 6-1 6-3, and will face Anna-Lena Groenefeld in round one.

O'Brien beat Betina Jozami on a tie-break and will play Monica Niculescu.


Baltacha was thrilled after earning her place in the tournament proper at the expense of the top seed in qualifying.

Three years ago Baltacha reached the third round in Melbourne before bowing out to 15th seed Silvia Farina Elia 6-1 6-0.

"I'm a bit speechless really because I still can't believe it if I'm honest," said the British number three.

"I've had such great memories here and hopefully I can build on that and really give it a go whoever I've got in the opening draw.

"I've got nothing to lose now. I've qualified and I've got the three matches behind me and whoever I get I just need to give it a really good shot and see what I can do."

Baltacha thrilled to make main draw

If the 25-year-old progress, she could face 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo in round two.

O'Brien enjoyed a dream start to her match against Jozami, taking the first set 6-0, but faced a tougher test in the second, which went to a tie-break that she won 7-2.

"It's an absolutely amazing feeling (to have qualified)," she said afterwards.

"I'm still shocked to be honest.

"I just went out there today and I was so focused. I lost in the last round last year and I was just determined that I was going to qualify this year and it feels great."

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see also
Federer cruises to Kooyong title
17 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Murray faces Pavel in Aussie Open
16 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Baltacha & O'Brien make progress
16 Jan 09 |  Tennis
British women go out in Australia
13 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 09 |  Tennis

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