Australian Alison Bai could not wipe the smile off her face after scoring a career-best win in Hobart International qualifying today.
The 28-year-old posted her first victory against a top 100-ranked opponent, upsetting world No.93 Anastasia Potapova. Bai, currently ranked No.384, powered to a 6-3 6-2 win in 61-minutes against the 17-year-old Russian.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Bai laughed.
“I kind of surprised myself today. I went out there and tried to concentrate on what I needed to do. Luckily I played here last year, so I know what the conditions are like.”
Admitting her experience helped, Bai still found herself in unfamiliar territory. She had never previously won a match at a WTA International-level tournament. Contrastingly, Potapova reached two WTA finals last season and qualified for the Brisbane International last week.
Bai, who began her 2019 season with a loss in qualifying at an ITF tournament in South Australia last week, had planned to play only doubles in Hobart.
“I thought I may as well support the crew, sign-in and give it a go,” Bai said.
Following a number of withdrawals, Bai found herself in the singles qualifying draw.
“Coming here I said to myself, ‘look I’ve got nothing to lose’. I had a bad week last week, now playing a girl in the top 100 who qualified for Brisbane last week, that gives me a lot of confidence,” she said.
A more relaxed approach is also having a positive impact on Bai’s tennis results.
“I’m just trying to enjoy it more,” she admitted. “When you’re younger you have a lot of pressure and goals – but now, I’m getting a bit older and just thankful for being able to play.”
Bai is now one win away from a WTA singles main draw debut. She faces fellow Australian Olivia Rogowska in tomorrow’s final round of qualifying.
“I’ll just concentrate on what I need to do and hopefully I can get a win,” Bai said.