WATCH—Court Report - WTA Rankings Update:
Marta Kostyuk didn't seem to have any problem with nerves when she reached the third round of the Australian Open as a 15-year-old in 2018, but it was very different in her return to Melbourne Park.
Now 16 years old and ranked No. 116, she won her qualifying opener in straight sets against Jana Cepelova.
"I feel it wasn’t my best match, I’m happy I got through this because I’ve never felt so nervous before a match," she was quoted as saying by the Australian Open website. "I was walking onto the court, I thought I was going to cry because I was so nervous."
But Kostyuk, who did not win another match at a WTA event or Grand Slam for the rest of the season, is happy to be back where she first made her tour breakthrough. "It was so special when I came here the first day [of] practice," said the Ukrainian player.
A year ago, she was ranked No. 521, receiving a wild card into the qualifying following her win in the junior championships. Now, she is in on her own ranking and looking to do it again, saying, "It means I have to go through this experience by myself again and I’m happy I have the chance. I’ve done it before."
Players need to win three matches to qualify for the Australian Open.
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