Australian teenager Priscilla Hon is one win away from her second Australian Open berth after an impressive three-set win in her second round qualifying match against former world No.12 Yanina Wickmayer.
Hon defeated the 2009 US Open semi-finalist 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 despite a lengthy rain delay at the start of the third set.
The Belgian Wickmayer, currently ranked 117, had Hon on her heels during the first set with her power overwhelming the Australian, who has only appeared at a grand slam once in her career.
Hon fought back in the second set thanks to her decision to focus on attacking Wickmayer when returning serve. She managed to stay in points for longer and pushed the Belgian to work harder to win games.
Hon had five double faults for the match, including one particularly nervy error at 5-5 in the second set, which forced her to defend two break points to stop Wickmayer going on to serve for the match. Hon recovered from that hiccup and eventually went on to win the set 7-5 when she broke Wickmayer in the final game.
Rain stopped play in the first game of the third set and after an almost two-hour delay the Australian returned with the same tenacity she displayed before the downpour. Hon served out the first game of the third set and then broke Wickmayer in the second game thanks to two beautiful shots - a backhand and a forehand - past the Belgian on deuce and break point.
The Brisbane local again attacked Wickmayer's serve hard in the final set and broke her once more in the fourth game to race to a 4-0 lead in just 18 minutes. This visibly rattled Wickmayer, who lost all of her confidence and flow following the break, causing the 28-year-old to lash out and throw her racquet at 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0.
Speaking after the win, which was arguably the biggest of her career, Hon couldn't hide her delight.
"This is a dream," she said."I was just [saying], 'think you're still losing. Don't even think that you're up' ... I don't know how to describe it."
She also thanked the weather gods for the chance for a freshen up early in the third set.
"I don't mind rain delays. Everyone kind of freaks out but it makes me chilled," she said.
Hon, ranked 214 in the world, defeated Czech Barbora Stefkova 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 in another three set battle to qualify for her second-round match against Wickmayer. Hon will play the winner of American Irina Falcone and Russia's Polina Monova on Saturday or Sunday in the third round of qualifying.
If Hon wins she will appear in the Australian Open singles draw for the second time. Her only other appearance came as a wildcard in 2016 as a 17-year-old. She lost in straight sets to Annika Beck of Germany in the first round. Hon missed the 2017 Australian Open due to injury.
Hon joined Bradley Mousley and John-Patrick Smith as the other Australians to win through to the final round of Australian Open qualifying.