Daria Saville earns Australian Open wildcard as top Aussie women's player snubbed

Arina Rodionova has been overlooked for an Australian Open wildcard with the final spot being given to Daria Saville.

Daria Saville pictured left and Arina Rodionova pictured right

Australia's current No.1 female tennis player, Arina Rodionova, has been snubbed for a wildcard at the Australian Open, with the final wildcard place being given to Daria Saville. Rodionova was ranked as low as 350th in the world in February but registered an impressive 78 victories from 104 matches in 2023, to reach world No.112 in the year-end rankings.

Despite her impressive run of form, the 34-year-old was overlooked by Tennis Australia, meaning her path to this year's Australian Open will be through qualifying. Rodionova beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in straight sets at the Brisbane International on Tuesday but lost 6-1, 6-1 to Russian teen Mirra Andreeva in her round of 16 clash on Thursday before learning that she missed out on wildcard selection.

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Saville was handed the final wildcard spot as she continues her comeback from an ACL tear. In preparation for the Aussie Open, Saville bowed out in the second round of the Brisbane International to 11th seed Anastasia Potapova in three sets.

In the first round of wildcards, which consisted of seven spots, six Aussies were given a place in the tournament along with former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. In total nine male and female players received direct entry into the main draw in the final round of wildcards on Friday, which included four reciprocal wildcards awarded to French and US players in exchange for Australians receiving wildcards to their respective grand slams in 2023.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 04: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates a point in her match against  Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during the 2024 Women's ASB Classic at ASB Tennis Centre on January 04, 2024 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Emma Raducanu has been handed entry into the main draw of the Australian Open after American Lauren Davis withdrew from the tournament. Image: Getty

Players to earn a spot by reciprocal wildcards were former Australian Open quarter-finalist Alize Cornet and exciting Chinese teenager Shang Juncheng. Reigning Australian Open doubles champion Jason Kubler also received a wildcard after he was ousted from the Brisbane International in the round of 16 by Rafael Nadal on Friday, as did Australian prospect James McCabe.

20-year-old McCabe's inclusion hands the Sydneysider his Grand Slam debut. The world No.272 came close to upsetting Dominic Thiem in the opening round of Brisbane qualifying before the world No.3 clawed his way back to win in three sets. Saville, Kubler and McCabe join compatriots Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki, Taylah Preston, James Duckworth, Marc Polmans and Adam Walton as wildcard recipients. As it stands there are 13 men and five women who will compete in the main draw of the Australian Open.

Emma Raducanu gains Australian Open entry

Emma Raducanu has been handed entry into the main draw of the Australian Open after American Lauren Davis withdrew from the tournament. Raducanu underwent surgery on both her wrists and her ankle in 2023, returning from injury at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

After winning her opening match, Raducanu folded in the second round, losing from a set up to Elina Svitolina 7-6 (5) 6-7 (3) 1-6. The 2021 US Open winner has dropped in the rankings to World No.301 and questions remain about her mental and physical stamina, having only played 16 matches that have gone the full three sets since winning the US Open more than two years ago and of those 16, she only has won 7.

"My intensity just dropped," Raducanu admitted post-match. "I need to learn to maintain that better for longer if I’m going to compete with these players for three sets. For two sets it was great, but you can’t win all the matches in two sets. If you want to go toe-to-toe for three, the intensity needs to be higher for longer."

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