Britain’s Francesca Jones has won her first ever Grand Slam qualifying match at the Australian Open, beating former top-30 player Monica Niculescu in Dubai.
The 20-year-old, who was born with a congenital condition which means she has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and three toes on one foot and four on the other, dropped just five games in winning 6-3 6-2 against the Romanian.
It’s Jones’ first major tournament outside Wimbledon, but the Leeds-born player, who’s ranked 241 in the world, dealt with the threat of her opponent with a straightforward victory to set up a meeting with Croatia’s Jana Fett.
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Harriet Dart, who reached the third round in Melbourne two years ago, had her chances ended at the first stage, losing 7-5 6-2 to American Grace Min.
The women’s qualifying event is being played in Dubai, with the men’s tournament in Doha, to enable social distancing and to avoid Australia’s strict coronavirus quarantine rules until the main draw, which starts on February 8.

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