Fourlis, Hunter fly Aussie flag in French Open qualies
Jaimee Fourlis and Storm Hunter are just one match away from boosting the depleted stocks of Australian women's tennis in the French Open main draw.
The pair are the last of the 11-strong contingent of Aussies who began the three-match haul on Monday to make it to the final round of qualifying, and will both have an excellent chance at earning a coveted place in the main draw.
In Friday's final round, Hunter - a doubles specialist who often punches above her ranking in the singles arena - has booked a place against US teenager Ashlyn Krueger, the world No.162, from Dallas.
Rockhampton's Hunter - Storm Sanders before her marriage last November - booked her place with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 win over experienced German Mona Barthel on Wednesday and looks in good shape to repeat her qualifying feat of two years ago.
Hunter is No.7 in the Australian singles rankings but her real quality is revealed by her doubles ranking in the world's top five.
Having dropped just 11 games in her two matches so far, she could well start favourite in Friday's decider, despite not having won a tour-level singles all season and being ranked 40 places lower than her 19-year-old Texan opponent.
Melbourne's world No.150 Fourlis, fourth ranked in Australia, will also fancy her chances.
She defeated in-form Argentine Maria Carle 6-4 5-7 6-2 in the second round to set up a final-round qualifier with French home favourite, Fiona Ferro, who's the world's 462nd-ranked player but has previously been as high 39.
The only Australian woman guaranteed to be in action in the main draw singles when the tournament proper starts on Sunday is Kim Birrell, selected as a reciprocal wildcard, with question marks still remaining over long-term knee injury victims Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Saville.
For only the third time in the past 25 years, six Australians managed to advance to the second round in Roland Garros qualifying - but the other four all succumbed on Wednesday.
Aleksandar Vukic and Marc Polmans went down to defeat on the men's side, while Arina Rodionova and Olivia Gadecki both got beaten in three sets in the women's draw.