Storm eyes a rise in ranking

NIALL BOYLESound Telegraph

Secret Harbour tennis starlet Storm Sanders is ready to put a disappointing Australian Open behind her as she fights to improve her ranking.

Sanders, who is ranked 613th in the world, was defeated 6-4, 6-2 by Yuliya Beygelzimer in a first-round qualifier on court six.

Sanders’ involvement in the prestigious Melbourne tournament ended last Thursday after a defeat in the doubles.

Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova, who were 14th seeds, swept aside her and doubles partner Viktorija Rajicic’s challenge, 6-4, 6-2.

“I was hitting the ball really well against Yuliya (in singles), but I just couldn’t execute. She played a really solid match and didn’t miss many balls,” Sanders said.

“She’s a bit older and has a bit of experience on the tour — I think that gave her the edge.

“I had a lot of opportunities — break point, game points. But I couldn’t execute at the right time and probably made too many errors.”

Despite two defeats, Sanders remained upbeat about her experience at the event.

“It’s an amazing experience being around the players and when you go to the gym they’re all working hard and you pick up things they do, such as their intensity,” she said.

“It was a bit disappointing I didn’t get the wins, but I was happy to be here (in Melbourne) and around the players.”

Sanders is now focused on building her fitness and playing as many tournaments across Australia to move her way up the rankings.

Dependant on her ranking, she revealed a move to Europe or the US could beckon.

“I’m still working on my physical fitness, working at getting stronger and fitter and working on my injury prevention as my workload is going to increase,” Sanders said.

“I’m kind of taking it one day, one match at a time and giving 100 per cent every match to do what I’ve been working on at the practice courts, and it will pay off if I keep working hard and put my mind to it.

“After these tournaments, I’d be very happy if I was 300 or 400 (in world rankings). That would set me up for going to Europe or the States.”

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