Arina Rodionova becomes oldest to enter top 100 for the first time

Australian No.1 Arina Rodionova sarcastically declared she gave Tennis Australia something to “celebrate” when she lost her opening round match in Australian Open qualifying after being snubbed for a wildcard in to the tournament.

Now the top-ranked female in the nation has given TA more food for thought after making tennis history by becoming the oldest woman to make it into the world’s top 100 for the first time aged 34.

A hard-fourth three-set win at a the Thailand Open in Hua Hin not only secured a quarter-final berth for the first time since 2017 at a WTA event, it was also enough for her to crack the top 100 for the first time.

Rodionova is the only Australian woman inside the top 100, with Kim Birrell next best at 124.

Storm Hunter, who was given a wildcard at Melbourne Park, went the deepest into the tournament, making the third round.

Rodionova, currently ranked at 101, will provisional move to No.96 when the new rankings come out after her Thailand run, and could be on the verge of the top-70 should she win the tournament.

It’s a massive rise for the Russian-born Melburnian, who at the start of 2023 was ranked only 302nd.

“The only regrets I have from today is just I gave Tennis Australia something to celebrate,” Rodionova said defiantly after her first-round qualifying loss in Melbourne.

“I think they are very pleased with my result today and that’s what makes me upset.”

The event in Thailand is Rodionova’s first since missing qualifying in Melbourne and she will play China’s Lin Zhu in the quarter-finals.