ZHUHAI, China - Han Na-Lae will in January become the first Korean woman to contest the main draw at a Grand Slam in 12 years after winning a playoff final on Sunday.
The 27-year-old, World No 182, reached the Australian Open after beating Japan's Ayano Shimizu 6-2, 6-2. The top seed eased home in the final of the 16-woman qualifying tournament in China to secure her spot in Melbourne and emulate the feat of compatriot Cho Yoon-jeong, who lost to Lourdes Domínguez Lino in the first round at the 2007 US Open.
Victory in the tournament this week, achieved without dropping a single set, adds to Han's three previous ITF titles this year won in Osaka, Incheon and Daegu. She also reached a career-high WTA singles ranking of 149 in June. Her career peak to date was victory over Kristyna Pliskova at the KEB Hana Bank-Incheon Airport Korea Open in Seoul in 2017.
Han, who has been playing on the WTA tour since 2014, also competed in the doubles qualifying in Zhuhai, but went out at the semifinal stage alongside compatriot Choi Ji-hee. It was partnering Choi that Han won her only career WTA title, the Korea Open doubles crown in September 2018.
The 2020 Australian Open gets underway on Monday 20 January, with Naomi Osaka aiming to defend her title.