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Australian Open: Francesca Jones beats Monica Niculescu in first round of qualifying

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Francesca Jones
Francesca Jones has yet to appear in a Grand Slam main draw

Britain’s Francesca Jones beat Monica Niculescu to reach the second round of qualifying for the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old beat the Romanian 28th seed, who is a former top-30 player, 6-3 6-2 in Dubai.

Jones will play Croatia’s Jana Fett next as she bids to reach a Grand Slam main draw for the first time.

British number three Harriet Dart, 24, who reached the second round of the Australian Open in 2020, was beaten 7-5 6-2 by American Grace Min.

In the men’s qualifying – which is taking place in Doha – Stockport’s Liam Broady also had his Melbourne hopes dashed in the first round as he went down 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 to Frenchman Constant Lestienne.

American Denis Kudla beat Elliot Benchetrit 6-4 6-3 in the first round before being told he had tested positive for coronavirus. He will now have to exit the tournament and self-isolate.

Morocco’s Benchetrit may also have to isolate if he is considered to be a close contact of Kudla.

In other tennis news, Britain’s Cameron Norrie, 25, beat third seed Adrian Mannarino to reach the Delray Beach Open quarter-finals.

Norrie claimed a 6-2 7-5 win over the Frenchman to set up a meeting with Frances Tiafoe of America.

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