Czech test for Ipswich wildcard in Paris
IPSWICH tennis fans will be up early tomorrow morning when home-grown star Ashleigh Barty lines up in the French Open.
The Springfield-based 17-year-old and 185th-ranked Australian wildcard will line up against Czech Lucie Hradecka at 3am Ipswich time in the first round on the Roland Garros clay in Paris.
Barty also received a wildcard into the main draw at the 2012 French Open, where she was defeated in the first round by fourth seed and eventual semi-finalist Petra Kvitova.
The 2011 Junior Wimbledon champion will not be daunted on clay after securing a victory in her recent Federation Cup match-up with Stefanie Voegele in Switzerland.
She also reached the semi-finals of the ITF clay-court event in Pelham, US, last month.
Barty also has claimed some big-name scalps in the past 12 months, none more so than her victory over former French Open champion Francesa Schiavone in the Hopman Cup.
Barty is one of two Australians to win a wildcard into the main draw of the French Open. She joins John Millman as one of two thanks to a reciprocal arrangement between Tennis Australia and the French Tennis Federation.
Former tennis greats have tipped big things for Barty.
"On the back of her crucial match win in Fed Cup, Ash looks primed for Grand Slam success in the near future," Tennis Australia's head of professional tennis, Todd Woodbridge, said.