Melbourne teenager Jaimee Fourlis’s Australian Open run has come to an end at the hands of two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
At 17 and No.414 in the world, Fourlis had been bidding to become the youngest Australian to make the women’s third round since Jelena Dokic in 1999.
But eighth-seeded Kuznetsova proved too strong on Wednesday, beating the wildcard playoff winner 6-2 6-1 in a hard-hitting 83-minute shootout at Margaret Court Arena.
The lop-sided scoreline belied the evenness of a match-up featuring the lowest-ranked player in the draw and one of the most experienced.
Juggling her transition to tennis’s professional ranks with Year 12 studies, Fourlis didn’t look out of place in her first-ever match on one of Melbourne Park’s show courts.
She bossed the former French and US Open champion from side to side at times and battled hard until the death, gallantly saving a series of match points in the final game before succumbing.
Despite the loss, Fourlis will climb more than 100 places in the rankings to a projected No.295 in the world and depart her maiden grand slam event $80,000 richer.