SYDNEY, Dec 23 AAP - Two of Australia's most promising players Tiffany Welford and Jaslyn Hewitt have been awarded wildcards into the main draw of the Uncle Tobys Hardcourts at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast next month.
Nineteen-year-old Welford is based on the Sunshine Coast and is Australia's fifth-highest ranked woman at world No.278. In November, she received a wildcard into the $US25,000 ($A32,770) Uncle Tobys International in Port Pirie and upset the second and third seeds to win her first ITF title.
The 2005 Uncle Tobys Hardcourts will be Welford's fourth appearance at the event, but her first in the main draw. "It's awesome. I can't wait to play in front of my family and friends at home, especially my dad who rarely gets to see me play," she said.
"This will definitely be the biggest match of my career, so I'm going to try to enjoy the experience as much as I can."
Hewitt, the 21-year-old sister of Lleyton Hewitt, is currently ranked 351st in the world.
She proved to be one of the most successful players on this years Australian challenger, satellite and futures circuit when she defeated Evie Dominikovic in three sets to take out Septembers $US25,000 ($A32,770) Uncle Tobys International in Canberra and reached the quarter-finals of the Port Pirie tournament.
Hewitt said she would look forward to her debut on the Gold Coast.
"This will be the first time I've played the tournament, so I want to go out there and do my best and hopefully I'll pull off a win," Hewitt said.
The inclusion of Welford and Hewitt will provide additional interest to an already impressive draw that boasts six of the world's top 20 women and four former winners of the tournament.
Jaslyn actually outperformed Welford in the recent 6 x $25K Challengers series in Australia. Both girls won a challenger, and both had wins over Sunitha Rao.
Jaslyn's performance in the UK prior to the Aussie circuit were also impressive. The girls are pretty even if you ask me, and both will probably get main draw WC into the Australian Open
Jaslyn had a nice run at a few tournaments through Canberra, but with the exception of her win over Rao, she pretty much died after that. While her MD WC could be justified, I think a qualifying WC would have done her more good.