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Hunter, Rodionova to take singles reins for Australia at Brisbane | 11 April, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Hunter, Rodionova to take singles reins for Australia at Brisbane | 11 April, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Storm Hunter has been drawn to contest singles and doubles while Arina Rodionova will open the Billie Jean Cup Qualifier tie against Mexico on Friday.

Brisbane, 11 April 2024 | Dan Imhoff

Storm Hunter and Arina Rodionova will lead the singles charge as Australia attempts to regain its place in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals against Mexico at the Queensland Tennis Centre this weekend.

At Thursday’s draw ceremony, Hunter was nominated to face 30-year-old Marcela Zacarias on Day 1 following Arina Rodionova’s showdown against former world No.6 doubles specialist Giuliana Olmos.

Team captain Sam Stosur said it was not an easy decision finalising nominations. All her charges had put their best foot forward to earn the call-up.

β€œMyself and the coaches talked a lot during the week and this was the decision that we felt we wanted to go with for Friday and over the weekend, so it’s not like putting any of these girls was going to be a bad choice,” Stosur said.

β€œIt’s tough, they’re all very similar in rankings at the moment, all been playing exceptionally well in recent months, so it’s what we ended up going with. Some of it you’ve got to go with your gut and put it out there.”

> READ: Stosur up to challenge in switch from teammate to chief selector

Zacarias, who played the role of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the film King Richard, was first selected on the Mexican team 12 years ago and was not an opponent Hunter took lightly.

β€œThe practices have been high quality and I’m really honoured to be able to play tomorrow in my first home tie, so it’ll definitely be a bit of a different feeling,” said Hunter, who has compiled a 10-2 record across singles and doubles since making her debut for Australia in 2021.

β€œPlaying Mexico we’ve got to be ready. I’ve been in that situation where we’ve been the underdogs and we’ve beaten teams we shouldn’t have beaten.

β€œWe have to be ready for them. Representing your country does bring out your best for a lot of players. I’m super excited for tomorrow.”

> READ: Hunter’s Billie Jean King Cup homecoming worth the wait

Rodionova last opened a Billie Jean King Cup tie for Australia against Slovakia in 2016 and the 34-year-old was drawn to do so for a second time against 31-year-old Olmos, whose greater tour-level experience was favoured over her higher-ranked singles teammates.

β€œEight years, feels like it was yesterday,” Rodionova said. β€œOf course,…

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