Aussie tennis stars clinch incredible 27-year first at Wimbledon

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Pictured left to right are Aussie tennis stars Maddison Inglis and Jason Kubler.
Maddison Inglis (L) and Jason Kubler are among six Australians who booked their spots at Wimbledon on a brilliant day of qualifying for the green and gold. Pic: AAP/Getty

Australia's tennis stars have enjoyed the nation's most fruitful day of Wimbledon qualifying in the best part of three decades, with six players booking their spots in the main draw of the grand slam.

The Aussies will boast their largest Wimbledon contingent in seven years after an extraordinary day for the green and gold in London.

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Jason Kubler, Max Purcell, Astra Sharma, Zoe Hives, Jaimee Fourlis and Maddison Inglis all successfully qualified as Australia's emerging tennis stars and battlers showed there is life and hope after Ash Barty.

It is the largest number of Aussie players to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw in 27 years, when seven booked their spots in qualifying in 1995.

Kubler and Purcell’s victories mean nine Aussie males will feature in this year’s Wimbledon men's singles draw, joining compatriots Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and John Millman in the field.

In the women's, victories for Sharma, Hives, Fourlis and Inglis see the female quartet take their place alongside Ajla Tomljanovic and wildcard Daria Saville in the ladies’ singles field.

All up, it means a whopping 15 Australians will compete in the singles main draw at the All England club - the biggest contingent since 2015.

Kubler continued his stellar season to advance to the main draw with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 final-round qualifying win over Swede Elias Ymer at Roehampton.

The last Aussie standing at this month's French Open and a mixed doubles finalist with Fourlis at the Australian Open in January, Kubler is finally starting to deliver on his potential following a luckless run with injury for the former world No.1 junior.

The 29-year-old's victory on Thursday completed a rare double of qualifying for Roland Garros on clay and Wimbledon on grass in the space of a month.

But Kubler said qualifying for Wimbledon was extra special.

"It's always cool at Wimbledon because qualifying is here at Roehampton," he told AAP.

"So I'm going to very excited about walking into the gates of Wimbledon. That's the best feeling."

Purcell sealed his main-draw debut at The All England Club with a 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory over Portugal's Nuno Borges.

"That's the first thing you want as a kid - to play Wimbledon - and to do it after not playing a whole lot of singles this year, it's great," Purcell told AAP.

Fourlis was equally elated after earning her maiden main-draw spot with a 6-4 6-4 defeat of Frenchwoman Jessika Ponchet.

"It's pretty freaking cool right now. I probably can't swear but it's unreal," the 22-year-old told AAP.

"Coming in to this week, I knew I could do it. But at the same time you take one match at a time.

"I'm playing really well the last couple of months and I know the belief is there. I've done all the hard work."

'Bittersweet' moment for Aussie star in Wimbledon qualifying

Hives will also grace tennis's greatest stage for the first time after Priscilla Hon withdrew from her winner-takes-all Aussie showdown because of illness.

"It's a bit bittersweet that I didn't get the match, didn't get the moment of qualifying," Hives told AAP.

"But to get the call to say she withdrew and that I was actually in, I was a bit stunned to be honest.

I don't really think it's sunk in just yet."

Pictured here, Australia's Zoe Hives returns a backhand during a match in 2019.
Zoe Hives will play Wimbledon for the first time after fellow Aussie Priscilla Hon withdrew from their crunch qualifier with illness. Pic: Getty

Inglis, Kubler's girlfriend, earned her first Wimbledon start since playing the juniors eight years ago with a 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-2 win over Serbian Natalija Stevanovic.

"I can't believe it," the 24-year-old said.

"I've always dreamed of qualifying for a slam. I always go on the last day and see everyone's reaction and I always wished one day it was me so I can't believe it's happened."

Sharma joined the party alongside Saville and 2021 quarter-finalist Tomljanovic as the sixth Australian qualifier in the 128-strong women's draw with a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory over Victoria Jiminez Kasintseva, of Andorra.

But fellow Australian Rinky Hijikata was left to rue blowing a golden opportunity against Nicola Kuhn.

Hijikata twice served for a two-sets-to-one lead only to squander a 5-1 advantage in the third set of a gut-wrenching 6-4 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) loss to the German.

with AAP

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