One week after meeting in the first round of Melbourne Summer Set 1, No.28 seed Mai Hontama and No.13 seed Zheng Qinwen set a rematch in the final round of Australian Open qualifying after two of the quickest wins of Day 4.
Hontama, 22, needed just 62 minutes to race past 2019 junior champion Liang En-Shuo, of Chinese Taipei 6-0, 6-4. The Japanese player, who upset Caroline Garcia and Shelby Rogers on her WTA main draw debut to reach last October's Chicago 500 quarterfinals, had previously defeated Liang in both of their junior meetings.
Highlights: Hontama d. Rogers
In the first set, No.149-ranked Hontama dropped just three points behind her delivery, while coming out on top of multi-deuce tussles in each of Liang's service games. In the second, she overturned a 3-1 deficit to reel off five of the last six games, sealing victory with her third ace.
Zheng triumphed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the pair's Melbourne clash, and went on to make her WTA semifinal debut in just her fourth main draw. The big-hitting Chinese 19-year-old was in supreme form against Australia's Seone Mendez, winning 6-3, 6-2 in 66 minutes. Zheng struck 24 winners in total, including 10 aces.
Read more: Five things to know about Zheng Qinwen
Both Zheng and Hontama will be seeking to reach their first Grand Slam main draw. Indeed, this week marks Zheng's major qualifying debut.
Trevisan, Niemeier storm through in straight sets; Hartono upsets Bonaventure
Former Roland Garros quarterfinalist and No.2 seed Martina Trevisan became the only Top 4 seed to reach the final qualifying round after making light work of Australia's Jaimee Fourlis 6-2, 6-0. The Italian converted six of her eight break points while saving six of the seven she faced en route to the 1-hour, 12-minute victory.
Trevisan, who had to save match point against Irina Fetecau in the first round, will face No.19 seed Olga Govortsova next after the Belarusian overcame Daniela Seguel 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The 33-year-old mother-of-one, who reached her career high of No.35 in June 2008, is bidding for her first Australian Open main-draw berth since 2016.
No.17 seed Jule Niemeier was another quick victor, dispatching Simona Waltert of Switzerland 6-1, 6-1 in 1 hour and 24 minutes. The talented German 22-year-old was a two-time WTA semifinalist in 2021, making the last four in Strasbourg and Hamburg.
Niemeier faces an intriguing third-round matchup against the Netherlands' Arianne Hartono, who upset Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in 1 hour and 34 minutes. University of Mississippi alumna Hartono was the 2018 NCAA Division I champion, and enjoyed a career-best pro season in 2021 as she rose from No.400 to her current No.191.
Hartono made her WTA main draw debut in Luxembourg last September, where she impressed with her neat aggression in taking Jelena Ostapenko to three sets in the second round. The 25-year-old was in similar form to end Bendigo ITF W60 champion Bonaventure's six-match winning streak, coming up with 22 winners to 19 unforced errors.
A Grand Slam main draw debut will be on the line for both Niemeier and Hartono.
Avanesyan surprises Baindl; Tsurenko, Bolsova advance
Russia's Elina Avanesyan joined Zheng as another 2002-born Grand Slam qualifying debutante in the final round. The 19-year-old rocketed from No.720 to No.261 over the course of 2021 after compiling a 48-19 record on the ITF World Tour, but had never contested a WTA-level qualifying event until this week.
However, Avanesyan scored a quality 6-2, 7-5 win over No.23 seed Kateryna Baindl (née Kozlova), coming through in 1 hour and 27 minutes. She will next face another Ukrainian former Top 100 player in the form of No.6 seed Lesia Tsurenko, who defeated Asia Muhammad 6-3, 7-5.
Elsewhere, there were wins for two Moldova-born Spaniards. Former World No.88 Aliona Bolsova came through a gruelling encounter against Usue Maitane Arconada 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 17 minutes, while Cristina Bucsa continued her bid to qualify for a second consecutive major by defeating Rebecca Sramkova 6-2, 7-5 in 1 hour and 34 minutes.
Former Top 50 players Christina McHale and Viktoria Kuzmova also enjoyed wins that potentially indicate an uptick in form. No.166-ranked McHale took the honours in an all-American derby 6-4, 6-3 over Francesca Di Lorenzo, while Slovak World No.158 Kuzmova defeated Jana Fett by the same scoreline.
2022 Australian Open: Final qualifying round
Katie Volynets (USA) vs. Mirjam Bjorklund (SWE)
 Martina Trevisan (ITA) vs.  Olga Govortsova (BLR)
Julia Grabher (AUT) vs. Caroline Dolehide (USA)
Hailey Baptiste (USA) vs. Yuan Yue (CHN)
 Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) vs.  Irina Bara (ROU)
 Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) vs. Elina Avanesyan (RUS)
Christina McHale (USA) vs. Emina Bektas (USA)
 Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) vs.  Rebecca Marino (CAN)
Jang Su Jeong (KOR) vs. Rebeka Masarova (ESP)
Arianne Hartono (NED) vs.  Jule Niemeier (GER)
 Harriet Dart (GBR) vs. [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)
Indy De Vroome (NED) vs.  Stefanie Voegele (SUI)
 Zheng Qinwen (CHN) vs.  Mai Hontama (JPN)
Cristina Bucsa (ESP) vs. Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
 Nao Hibino (JPN) vs.  Lucia Bronzetti (ITA)
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) vs. Aliona Bolsova (ESP)