Katherine Sebov and Alexis Galarneau reached the second round of the Australian Open qualifying on Tuesday with inspired performances. Sebov overcame 18-year-old Czech sensation Linda Noskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 while Galarneau overpowered 27-year-old Ryan Peniston of Great Britain 7-6(5), 6-2.

After a dazzling run to the final of the WTA 500 event in Adelaide last week as a qualifier – one that included wins over No. 2-ranked Ons Jabeur, No. 8 Daria Kasatkina and No. 26 Victoria Azarenka before losing to No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka – Noskova was the darling of the tennis world. There was an added bit of pixie dust on her because in Adelaide she saved a match point in the first round of qualifying against No. 58-ranked Anna Kalinskaya and another in the quarter-finals against Azarenka.

Linda Noskova follows through on a forehand.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

But Noskova only had a day off between the Adelaide final and playing her first round of qualifying on Court 17 mid-afternoon on Tuesday. It was always going to be tough to rev up again after the short turnaround and the 24-year-old Sebov, ranked at a career high No. 191, was aware of that.

“I think she was kind of tired so I used that against her,” she said about the Czech who is also ranked at a career-high No. 56. “I kind of had that in my favour. But at the same time, she’s played a lot of matches so she has good feel and less pressure.”

In the late stages, Noskova was subdued and phlegmatic in her on-court demeanour, while Sebov was coming out energetic from change-overs – bouncing and practicing dummy strokes.

She had started the match well, taking the first set but Noskova regrouped and dominated the second.

The third set went mostly Sebov’s way as she dropped just one point per service game on her way to a 5-3 lead right after breaking Noskova. But serving out in a pressure situation was not like the previous service games and Sebov felt it – losing the game to 30 on a double fault.

“I didn’t take my time enough, I rushed it a little bit,” she said. “Therefore my serve wasn’t doing as much as it was before. I wasn’t doing what I wanted and I made a couple of loose errors.”

With the pressure back on the Noskova serve, she seemed to feel the nerves and returned the favour – making three unforced errors in a poor game to lose it to 30, and the match.

Katherine Sebov runs and gets ready to hit a backhand.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

If there was a key to Sebov’s victory it was her commitment to continuing to go for her shots, ipso facto keeping Noskova from dominating rallies.

“She’s a very good player obviously, getting to the final of a 500 event last week,” Sebov said. “I had to take it from her. I couldn’t just wait for mistakes. I work on an aggressive game all the time so I was just doing what I work on. But mentally just staying in it was the toughest part.”

The numbers on the stats sheet were pretty even for the one hour and 48-minute match – Sebov had 26 winners to go with 30 unforced errors while Noskova 25 winners and 36 unforced errors.

Katherine Sebov pumps her fist.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Some observers were surprised that, with Noskova’s current cachet and her exposure on Australian television last week, her match was not assigned to either of the two main qualifying event stadiums – KIA Arena or 1573 Arena.

After the full houses with passionate spectators she experienced last week in Adelaide, it had to be a bit of a comedown for her to play in Court 17 with only about 25 people in stands that could seat approximately 600.

That didn’t faze Sebov in any way. She was thrilled with her victory saying, “it’s definitely a very big win for me and I’m very happy.”

On Wednesday, she will play No. 124-ranked Priscilla Hon of Australia in the fourth match on Court 3 after a 10 a.m. start (6 p.m. Tuesday in Canada.)

Alexis Galarneau hits a backhand.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Galarneau’s second-round match Wednesday against No. 104-ranked Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru will be fifth on court in 1573 Arena. The other Canadian in action Wednesday is Carol Zhao. She takes on France’s Clara Burel in the fourth match on the getting-to-be-very-familiar Court 17.

Tuesday’s Galarneau vs Peniston contest was located on Court 14 at the entirely opposite side of Melbourne Park grounds from where Sebov played on Court 17.

The first set was competitive with Peniston quickly taking a 2-0 lead and then Galarneau striking back immediately to level at 2-2.

Neither player is particularly tall but Galarneau has a stronger build than the wiry, left-handed Briton. It was no surprise he was the heavier hitter, particularly as the match went along.

Serving was not a major factor and both players held in the final eight games of the first set to force a tiebreak. Peniston’s shots were more spiny while Galarneau had the ability to hit a flatter ball with more acceleration.

In the tiebreak, Galarneau got the first mini-break lead to 2-1 and soon stretched it to 4-1. He eventually led 6-3 – three set points – but wound up needing all of them. The third and final one ended on a forehand error by Peniston. Maybe the real difference in the tiebreak was two shots both ways. The two from Penistion were forehand miss-hits that flew way out of the court. The two from Galarneau were crushed forehand screamers that gave Peniston absolutely no shot.

In the second set, it was more of the same as the Brit was unable to counter Galarneau’s up-tempo ball striking.

Alexis Galarneau's racket passes in front of his face as he follows through on a forehand.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Now ranked No. 206, Galarneau will be facing Varillas for the first time. The 27-year-old Peruvian is playing in his 10th Grand Slam qualifying and has only once reached the main draw. That might be familiar to Canadians because it was last May at Roland Garros where he put up a game challenge before losing 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to Félix Auger-Aliassme in the first round.

Galarneau, 23, is playing in his first Grand Slam qualifying after rising from No. 378 to No. 207 during the 2022 season

NOTE: The main draws for the women’s and men’s singles will be held at 3 p.m. Melbourne time on Thursday (11 p.m. ET Wednesday in Canada).