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Australian Open: Francesca Jones qualifies for first Grand Slam tournament

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Britain’s Francesca Jones qualified for a Grand Slam for the first time with a crushing victory over Lu Jia-Jing in the final round of Australian Open qualifying.

The 20-year-old beat China’s Lu 6-0 6-1 in just one hour and one minute.

Jones was playing in her first overseas Grand Slam qualifying draw at the tournament in Dubai.

“I’m just super happy to qualify and really looking forward to getting out to Oz,” she said.

“I’ve never been before and I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience.”

In reaching the main draw, Jones defeated former world top 30 and top 100 players Monica Niculescu and Jana Fett before her win over world number 200 Lu.

The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne from 8-21 February.

It was scheduled to start on 18 January but was pushed back three weeks because of the quarantine restrictions imposed by Victoria state government officials.

Players must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in Melbourne.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Cameron Norrie was knocked out of the Delray Beach Open in the semi-finals as American Sebastian Korda won 6-3 7-5.

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Francesca Jones played with confidence and fluency throughout the week in what was her first appearance in qualifying for a Grand Slam outside Wimbledon.

She was full of composure in a first-round victory over Monica Niculescu, who was in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2015, and then pleasingly ruthless in a one-sided final round match with Lu Jia-Jing.

And now for the all-expenses-paid charter flight to Melbourne, to begin two weeks of quarantine.

Those quarantine rules do allow players to leave their rooms for five hours a day to practise at Melbourne Park – which will be a first for Jones.

And with the draw for the Australian Open itself still three weeks away, she has a chance to savour the moment and appreciate just what she has achieved against the odds.

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