Youth took centre stage on Day 2 of Australian Open qualifying as seven teenagers won through to the final round.
Brenda Fruhvirtova, 15, was the youngest of them, and the one who pulled off the most remarkable victory. Fruhvirtova trailed Daria Snigur by a set and 5-1, and was two points from defeat on four occasions, but essayed a unlikely turnaround to emerge a 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 victor after 2 hours and 14 minutes.
The No.135-ranked Czech, whose 17-year-old sister Linda has direct entry to the main draw, only played her first pro match 13 months ago. But she has started her career with a 53-10 record, including eight ITF W25 titles, so far. With her back to the wall, she demonstrated a determined tenacity, locking down her game and refusing to miss. Snigur, whose idiosyncratic flat strokes had been in full command, found herself unable to hit through the youngster and saw victory dissipate amidst a flurry of netted drive volleys.
This Daria Snigur 🇺🇦 and Brenda Fruhvirtova 🇨🇿 match has had just about everything!— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2023
Breaks galore, a tie break, medical time outs, brilliant rallies, wicked momentum swings... and finally a winner.
15-year-old Fruhvirtova through in three, 5-7 7-6(3) 6-3#AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/5UtT8UQlkP
Fruhvirtova was joined by compatriot Sara Bejlek, 16, who notched the first Top 100 victory of her career with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 upset of No.1 seed Alycia Parks. The speedy Bejlek also outran a more powerful opponent: she found only two winners to the American's 35, but against that committed 14 unforced errors against Parks' 70, and just one in the third set. The No.175-ranked Bejlek is seeking to qualify for a second successive major, having made her tour-level debut at the US Open last year.
Why we should expect a big rise from Sara Bejlek
Bejlek will play another teenager, 18-year-old Erika Andreeva. No.29-seeded Andreeva overcame Katarina Zavatska 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Fruhvirtova will next face Jessica Bouzas Maneiro, who made a winning tour-level debut as a United Cup substitute last week and has continued that form in Melbourne.
Get to know Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, Andorra's teenage trailblazer
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, 17, had a smoother time in reaching the final qualifying round of a major for the second time. The 2020 Australian Open junior champion, the Andorran needed only 63 minutes to dispatch Zoe Hives 6-1, 6-1. Jimenez Kasintseva will face No.22 seed Eva Lys, the fast-rising German 20-year-old who beat Alexandra Cadantu-Ignatik 6-4, 6-1.
Strong support system helping Eva Lys rise on tour
Diana Shnaider, 18, is making her major qualifying debut, but is already seeded No.8 after a phenomenal late-season surge in 2022. The three-time junior Grand Slam doubles champion was outside the Top 200 at the start of October, but has rocketed to a career-high of No.105 this week after winning 20 of her last 25 matches. That included her first WTA 125 title in Montevideo in November. Shnaider took out fellow 18-year-old Robin Montgomery 6-4, 6-4 to advance.
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva is making waves 🌊🇦🇩— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2023
The 17-year-old and 2020 #AusOpen girls' singles champion progresses to the final round of qualifying 💪#AO2023 pic.twitter.com/8HeC0gYg2L
The two remaining teenagers to reach the final qualifying round are 19-year-olds Oksana Selekhmeteva, who defeated No.24 seed Ann Li 6-1, 7-5; and Polina Kudermetova, younger sister of World No.9 Veronika, who raced past No.30 seed Katie Boulter 6-1, 6-3. No.182-ranked Kudermetova is making her Grand Slam qualifying debut.
Elsewhere, two former Top 10 players navigated tough opponents successfully. Kristina Mladenovic survived a rollercoaster ride to beat No.18 seed Marina Bassols Ribera 6-2, 6-7(8), 7-5, needing six match points to close out the Spaniard after squandering two in the second set. Meanwhile, 2017 semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe defeated 2022 junior champion Petra Marcinko 6-4, 6-2.
Eva Lys 🇩🇪 is through to the final round of qualifying, beating Alexandra Cadanțu-Ignatik 6-4 6-1— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2023
Fun fact: it's Eva's 21st birthday tomorrow!#AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/q6YYS8a9xB
Other former Top 100 players to advance included No.2 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-1 6-1 over Jessika Ponchet and Lausanne finalist Olga Danilovic 6-3, 6-1 over Despina Papamichail.
2023 Australian Open final qualifying round
Sara Bejlek (CZE) vs.  Erika Andreeva
Katherine Sebov (CAN) vs.  Simona Waltert (SUI)
 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) vs.  Elizabeth Mandlik (USA)
 Cristina Bucsa (ESP) vs.  Nao Hibino (JPN)
Sachia Vickery (USA) vs. Lucrezia Stefanini (ITA)
Sophie Chang (USA) vs. Oksana Selekhmeteva
Yuriko Miyazaki (GBR) vs.  CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)
 Diana Shnaider vs. Anastasia Tikhonova
 Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) vs.  Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
Olga Danilovic (SRB) vs.  Clara Burel (FRA)
 Katie Volynets (USA) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Jessica Bouzas Maneiro (ESP) vs.  Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE)
Selena Janicijevic (FRA) vs.  Jodie Burrage (GBR)
 Laura Pigossi (BRA) vs. Arianne Hartono (NED)
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva (AND) vs.  Eva Lys (GER)
Asia Muhammad (USA) vs. Polina Kudermetova