Eliza Long has continued her great run on with Traralgon’s hard-courts to qualify for a tournament featuring some of the world’s best junior tennis players.
The 17-year-old from Knowsley won two qualifying matches in vastly different style to get to the main draw of the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon International.
The 2011 national under-16 champion battled past Michelle Pits 3-6 6-4 7-5 in her opening qualifier.
Long was 4-1 down in the second set, but found a way to win on the courts where she qualified for her first Pro Tour event in October.
“I had a pretty bad match, actually. I was struggling a fair bit and was really inconsistent,” Long said.
“I was down 6-3 4-1 and was still trying to be positive, but it wasn’t looking too good at that stage.
“It was a bit of an ugly win.
“I just tried to use what I had and tried to play to her weaknesses and managed to get back in it somehow, just literally hanging in.”
It was a completely different story in yesterday’s second qualifier as Long thumped the third qualifying seed, Japan’s Yuriko Miyazaki, 6-1 6-0.
“Literally overnight I just changed, I was really happy with how I played,” she said.
Long will now play China’s Shilin Xu, who has a a world ranking of 51, in the opening round at the Traralgon International.
Long was knocked out in the first round last year after receiving direct entry into the event as the national 16s champion.
She could face the likes of world number three junior Eugenie Bouchard from Canada, Estonian number six Anett Kontaveit and 2011 Australian Open junior champion An-Sophie Mestach from Belgium if she progresses deeper in the draw.
Australia’s world number one junior Luke Saville headlines the boys’ draw, along with Brazilian number two Thiago Monteiro, world number three Liam Broady from Great Britain, and world number four Kaichi Uchida from Japan.
Most of the juniors at Traralgon will play at the Junior Australian Open, while Long will try to qualify for the event after being handed a wildcard.