Çağla Büyükakçay set to make her Australian Open debut on Tuesday

Turkey’s leading female tennis player Çağla Büyükakçay has been drawn in the fourth quarter of the Women’s Singles draw at this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

Büyükakçay, ranked 86th, will play France’s Oceane Dodin, ranked 72nd, in the first round-match on Tuesday 17th January at midnight UK time. It’s the first time the 27-year-old has automatically been entered into the main draw for a Grand Slam event.

Büyükakçay made history last April when she became the first Turkish player to win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title, beating Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in the final of the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup. The win propelled her onto the WTA Top 100 – another first for her and Turkey.

Ergi Kırkın in action at Wimbledon, July 2016
Rising star Ergi Kırkın, here in action at Wimbledon, July 2016

Originally from Adana and now resident in Istanbul, Büyükakçay has been playing tennis since the age of eight. She likes playing on hard surfaces, so the Plexicushion hard courts at the Australian Open should suit her style of play well.

Before setting off for Australia last week, she told the Anadolu News Agency:

“I hope I get a good draw. I want to play my best tennis and progress to the later stages [of the tournament]”.

Turkish tennis juniors also in Melbourne

Three young Turkish tennis players join Büyükakçay in Melbourne this year. Promising men’s player Ergi Kırkın, who is in the world’s top 25 youth players, Kaya Göre and Yankı Erel will play in Australian Open Junior Championship, which starts on 21 January.

Another young Turkish player, İpek Soylu, was knocked out of last week’s qualifiers for the Australian Women’s Singles.


Main photo: Çağla Büyükakçay, 2015 Wimbledon Qualifying – Diliff