WA teenagers Taylah Preston and Talia Gibson will begin their quests for a dream Australian Open main draw berth when they play in the first round of qualifiers on Tuesday morning.
The duo will need to cause upsets though to make it to the second round when they battle more senior opponents at Melbourne Park.
Preston will face world No.185 Kurumi Nara on court six from 7am, in a tough match-up for the rising star.
The 16-year-old may be more than a decade younger than her Japanese opponent, but the West Australian has already shown she can be a giant killer this summer, defeating former world No.5 Sara Errani in three sets in the Melbourne Summer Series just last week.
“It’s always been a dream to play in the Australian Open and even though it’s qualifying, it’s still playing in the tournament,” Preston told The West Australian last month.
Nara is looking to return to the Australian Open for the first time since 2018, having fallen short in the past three qualifiers.
Gibson will take on world No. 187 Arianne Hartono later in the morning as she opens her account in Melbourne.
The 17-year-old lost in three sets to American Hanna Chang in the ITF $60,000 in Bendigo last week, but impressed in a strong first set and took the next two to tie-breakers.
Hartono is yet to play in a grand slam, but has won two singles titles on the ITF circuit.
West Australian Tristan Schoolkate will also be in action when he faces American Christopher Eubanks in the first round of the men’s qualifiers.
A victory for Schoolkate could see him take on fellow Australian Bernard Tomic, with the two having played in last year’s qualifiers.
Matthew Ebden will play on the main stage of the Kia Arena when he faces Germany’s Mats Moraing.