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2012 Australian Open: Melanie Oudin and Laura Robson in Qualifying Tournament

From Bleacher Report – Tennis http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1020987-2012-australian-open-melanie-oudin-and-laura-robson-in-qualifying-tournament

The 2012 women’s qualifying draw has been released and it has a mixture of relative no-names, potential future stars and moderately well-known players who have slid down the rankings in recent times.

The top-seeded player in the event is Vesna Dolonts of Russia, a 22-year-old who enjoyed moderate success at Melbourne Park last season. Dolonts made the third round of the 2011 Australian Open but she did not put an entire season together in 2011.

As a result, she is ranked just 113th heading into the Aussie. Dolonts will have to win five straight matches if she is to make it back to the third round of this season’s Australian Open and avoid a ranking slide. That’s three matches to qualify and then two match-wins in the main draw.

Melanie Oudin, a fourth-rounder at Wimbledon 2009 and a quarterfinalist at the 2009 US Open, is in the qualifying draw as well. Oudin, still just 20 years old, has never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park. She has a tough first round qualifying match this season as she will face Britain’s Laura Robson, a 17-year-old who has been improving of late and one who is touted as a future star on tour.

Kristina Mladenovic of France is another player to watch out for in the future. She’s currently ranked just 144th in the world, however she is still just 18 years old. She’s the 24th seed in the women’s qualifying draw and will be looking to get back into the main draw for the first time since 2009.

Mirjana Lucic is still trying to stay in the thick of things as her 30th birthday looms. A one-slam-wonder, Lucic has never been through the third round of any Grand Slam main draw with the exception of the 1999 Wimbledon tournament. At that event, Lucic made the semifinals and actually gave Steffi Graf a run for her money in that semi before losing in three sets. 

At this year’s Melbourne Park event, Lucic is the 13th seed.

The women’s qualifying tournament will produce 12 qualifiers, unlike the men’s qualifying tournament which produces 16. There are 96 women competing for those 12 spots so one in eight will make it into the main draw.

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