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Aussie wildcard beats US Open finalist Fernandez in major upset

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Maddison Inglis — ranked 133 in the world — has continued the successful run by the local wildcards, sending 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez packing in a major first-round upset at the Australian Open.

The 24-year-old from Perth needed just one hour and 22 minutes to wrap up the 6-4, 6-2 victory over the number 23 seed Fernandez, who made it all the way to the unlikeliest of title deciders at Flushing Meadows last year against British qualifier Emma Raducanu.

After racing to a 4-0 lead in the second set, Inglis held her nerve in a marathon sixth game, saving several break points before sealing it with an ace.

Two games later she wrapped up her first victory at a major at her fifth attempt and in her third Australian Open.

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“I’m shaking. I’m super stoked with how I played today,” Inglis told Channel Nine.

“I held my nerves really well and I’m so happy to win my first round of AO (Australian Open) on this court with this crowd.

“I kind of joked around saying third time lucky because this is my third main draw (at an Australian Open) and it turns it was, so I’m really looking forward to keeping it going.”

Inglis’s second-round opponent with be Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.

Her win followed Sam Stosur’s three-set victory over American wildcard Robin Anderson, which extends her decorated singles career by at least one more match.

Fellow wildcard Chris O’Connell advanced to round two at the Open for a second successive year by downing Frenchman Hugo Gaston in four sets.

The 27-year-old Sydneysider won 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours and 35 minutes to set up a clash on Thursday with Argentinian number 13 seed Diego Schwartzman, who beat Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

But Jordan Thompson wasn’t so lucky with Steve Johnson outlasting the Sydney-sider in a five-set marathon 7-6(7-5), 6-7(6-8), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 over three hours and 42 minutes. 

Saville beaten in first round

Australia’s Daria Saville has lost to Swede Rebecca Peterson in the first round at the Australian Open.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

Daria Saville was dispatched in straight sets by Swede Rebecca Peterson.

Playing in her first major since last year’s Australian Open and having recovered from surgery to the Achilles tendon that had troubled her on and off for five years, Saville lost 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Saville’s best campaigns at Melbourne Park came when she reached round 16 in 2016 and 2017.

Among other results, Czech number 31 seed Marketa Vondrousova proved too good for Australian Priscilla Hon, winning 6-2, 6-3.

ABC/AAP

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