A series of upsets on the first day of Australian Open qualifying took out two of the top three seeds in the opening round. Tessah Andrianjafitrimo toppled the in-form No.3 seed Zhu Lin 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 from a set and a break down, while Andrea Lazaro Garcia advanced 6-1, 6-4 past No.1 seed Anna Kalinskaya in just 69 minutes.
Indeed, four of the six highest seeds in action fell. Francesca Di Lorenzo took out No.7 Chloe Paquet in a seesaw 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 encounter, while Rebecca Sramkova needed only 57 minutes to rout No.14 Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-1.
Zhu has played stellar tennis since returning from a five-month hiatus last month. The Chinese World No.114 captured the biggest title of her career at the Seoul WTA 125 in December, and eventually tallied a seven-match winning streak after qualifying and reaching the second round of the Melbourne Summer Set 2 last week.
But a slew of errors as Zhu served at 6-3, 2-0 beckoned Andrianjafitrimo back into the match, and the No.193-ranked Frenchwoman took advantage. A former Top 30 junior who has contested the Roland Garros main draw twice, Andrianjafitrimo is coming off a career-best 2021 season in which she cracked the Top 200 for the first time.
The 23-year-old held her nerve through the remainder of a knife-edge second set, finding consecutive forehand winners when two points from defeat to snatch the tiebreak, and kept in front throughout the decider. A backhand error from Zhu sealed the win for Andrianjafitrimo in 2 hours and 34 minutes, the day's longest match.
Florida International University alumna Lazaro Garcia, 27, claimed her first Grand Slam qualifying win over Kalinskaya in style. The No.245-ranked Spaniard struck 19 winners to Kalinskaya's 12 in order to seal a career-best win by ranking, and converted her first match point with a stunning forehand down the line.
Kalinskaya, who retired in the first round of Melbourne Summer Set 1 last week due to breathing difficulties, did not help her cause with 33 unforced errors. The Russian could not sustain a second-set comeback, dropping the last five games of the match from 4-1 up.
Cocciaretto wins on comeback from injury, Baptiste survives tiebreak confusion
Two years ago, Elisabetta Cocciaretto qualified for her Grand Slam main draw debut at the 2020 Australian Open, and delivered an eyecatching performance against Angelique Kerber on Rod Laver Arena. After reaching her first WTA semifinal in Guadalajara last year, the talented Italian came close to making her Top 100 debut when she hit No.108 in June - only to be sidelined due to a knee injury for the rest of the season.
But Cocciaretto made a winning return in her first match since Budapest last July. The 20-year-old defeated former World No.52 Lara Arruabarrena 6-0, 7-5, coming up with 32 winners en route to the 1-hour, 14-minute victory.
One of the most dramatic matches of the day involved another rising 20-year-old. Hailey Baptiste was taken to a third-set tiebreak by Briton Samantha Murray Sharan in a clash that featured plenty of entertaining net play from both. Baptiste had already missed a match point at 5-4 in the third set, but when Murray Sharan double faulted to fall behind 7-4, the No.168-ranked American came forwards for the handshake - only to realise she was still three points away from winning the first-to-10 super-tiebreak.
Murray Sharan would win four of the next six points, but could not take advantage of Baptiste's lapse in concentration. Instead, the World No.290 double faulted again to hand the win to Baptiste 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6.
Elsewhere, 2019 junior champion Liang En-Shuo made a thrilling comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to escape Grand Slam qualifying debutante Dea Herdzelas, of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5. Ukrainian No.31 seed Daria Snigur, the Wimbledon girls' titlist in the same year, also advanced 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 over Paraguayan former World No.73 Veronica Cepede Royg.
Stojanovic, Hontama restore order; Bucsa posts quickest win of day
Amid the upsets, some favourites did manage to make it through. No.4 seed Nina Stojanovic raced past Brazil's Laura Pigossi, the shock doubles bronze medallist at last year's Tokyo Olympic Games, 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes. No.28 seed Mai Hontama, who turned heads on her WTA debut in Chicago last year by reaching the quarterfinals, progressed 6-1, 7-5 past Reka Luca Jani. No.11 seed Harriet Dart was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Federica Di Sarra, and No.15 seed Nao Hibino bested Katarzyna Kawa for the second week in a row 6-1, 7-5.
Elsewhere, former World No.29 Kateryna Bondarenko survived an upset bid from 17-year-old wildcard Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz to advance 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Australia's Kempenaers-Pocz had posted a career-best win in Adelaide qualifying last week over Rebecca Marino.
Spain's Cristina Bucsa enjoyed the honour of the quickest passage into the second round, needing only 43 minutes to speed past Cristina Dinu of Romania. The World No.160 even stood five points away from a rare golden set after winning the first 15 points of the second set to reach 4-0, 40-0.