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Fearless Fourlis impresses on debut

Paris, France, 30 May 2017 | Darren Walton, AAP

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Melbourne schoolgirl Jaimee Fourlis will return to the books after enjoying a thrilling showcourt cameo at the French Open in Paris.

Free-hitting Fourlis had former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki scrambling all over Court Suzanne Lenglen before eventually succumbing 6-4 3-6 6-2 to the tournament’s 11th seed in a quality two-and-a-quarter-hour encounter.

Revelling in her Roland Garros debut, 17-year-old Fourlis defied her ranking of No.337 to club 36 winners to Wozniacki’s 12, but ultimately paid the price for 54 unforced errors.

Despite the defeat, Fourlis was still beaming an hour after being eliminated by the two-time Grand Slam finalist.

“It was a really great experience playing someone so highly ranked,” the teenager said.

“Playing on centre court, playing somebody who was No.1 in the world, knowing that I can be there and matching it with the best; so I take a lot of confidence out of it.”

Fourlis, who also won the Australian Open wildcard play-off before reaching the second round at Melbourne Park in January, would love to make the Wimbledon main draw for the first time too. But it won’t be this year.

The Year 12 distance-education student has just finished her legal studies unit but needs to complete English, maths, biology and physical education yet before embarking full-time on her professional tennis career.

“It’s quite tough being on the road and trying to do school,” Fourlis said.

“But everyone at home has been helping me this year to get through school.

“I can’t wait to finish so that next year I can just play.”

Original author: Leigh Rogers
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