Britain’s newest tennis star Fran Jones – who is heading for the world’s top 200 despite missing three toes and two fingers because of a congenital condition – has just surged through her final round of qualifying for the Australian Open. Jones was utterly dominant in dismissing China’s Jia-Jing Lu – a far more experienced player, who is ranked 41 places higher than her – by a 6-0 6-1 scoreline in just 61 minutes. At the age of 20, she is about to play at a major for the first time. Jones suffers from a rare genetic condition called Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia, which left her needing to build her own distinctive style. She has to be extremely precise with her footwork, and she plays with an unusually light racket, but she still generates enough racket-head speed to apply heavy topspin. She admits that her decision to become a professional tennis player was spurred by a doctor who told her, at the age of the eight, that it would be impossible. Overcoming obstacles is part of her daily life – and in Dubai this week she has scored three qualifying victories in as many days where the other four British players (Liam Broady, Jay Clarke, Harriet Dart and Naiktha Bains) managed none between them. Her reward will be a place on one of the charter planes to Australia organised for the end of this week, with up to 75 players spread through an aircraft that would normally carry 300 in order to reduce the risk of Covid transmission. Speaking after Tuesday’s victory over Jana Fett, Jones told reporters: “Everything about our current situation globally is weird and unpredictable, and we have to adapt. Humans at the moment have to be as adaptive as possible to the situation, and that’s what I’m trying to do.” Asked about the prospect of possibly moving on to Australia, she said: “It’s kind of cool. You know like in the X Factor, you move on to the next stage, that’s how it feels. Simon Cowell tells you that you are through and you are on a flight to the live show.” She quickly added that she had her feet on the ground and was focusing on the next match. Now, though, she can celebrate a significant achievement – the biggest of her career to date. Even if she is eliminated in the opening round in Melbourne, her ranking is still likely to climb more than 20 places from its current figure of No 241.
Source:: Yahoo News – Sports