Australian Open 2012: James Ward and Laura Robson reach main draw

Laura Robson
World number 133, Robson won her final qualifier in straight sets

James Ward and Laura Robson are through to the main draw at the Australian Open after coming through qualifying.

Ward, 24, beat Dutchman Igor Sijsling 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to earn a place in a Grand Slam event for the first time outside the United Kingdom.

The 24-year-old has made two appearances at Wimbledon, losing in the first round in 2009 and 2011.

Robson, 17, saw off Ukraine's Olga Savchuk, winning 6-1 7-6 (7-2) in 75 minutes.

She has more experience on the big stage having played at Wimbledon three times and also making it into the second round at the US Open last year.

Robson spent two weeks in November on crutches after the early signs of a stress fracture of the left shin were discovered.

And the world number 133 said: "It's the second time I have done it [come through qualifying] which is very good.

"And in the last two Grand Slams I have played, I have won the first round in the main draw and I hope I can do that again here.

"When I first heard about the injury I didn't even know if I would be able to play here so for me to qualify has been really good.

"I came into the tournament with no expectations as I had only been playing points in practice five days before my first match so I am very happy with how I am playing and hopefully my form will continue to get better throughout the tournament."

Ward, ranked 161st in the world, said: "It's a pleasing day for me. I had a couple of tough matches, a couple of long three-setters, so to play well today was great.

"Every time you go out there you believe you are going to win but it doesn't happen every week, there are a lot of good players out there.

"Obviously watching Andy [Murray] and what he does and the success he is having it makes you realise what level you have to get to.

"It would be good to get in the top 100 and get on tour but it's only one tournament. We will see what happens."

Both players will discover their first-round opponents when qualifying is complete.

There will be six players from Britain competing in Melbourne, with Andy Murray, Elena Baltacha, Heather Watson and Anne Keothavong already in the draw.

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