Young Brit Francesca Jones – who is missing two fingers and three toes because of a rare condition – storms into the main draw of the Australian Open, defying the doctors who told her to FORGET a tennis career
- Brit Francesca Jones has booked herself a place in Australian Open main draw
- She was born with three fingers on each hand and is also missing three toes
- The 20-year-old has rare condition and doctors said she shouldn’t pursue tennis
- Jones beat higher-ranked Jia Jing Lu 6-0, 6-1 to book seat on plane to Melbourne
Francesca Jones rose to the latest challenge facing her in fine style on Wednesday morning when she blasted her way into the Australian Open main draw.
The 20 year-old from Bradford, who was born with the rare condition Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndrome, won her third and final qualifying match to put herself on the plane to Melbourne.
Barcelona-based Jones thrashed the more experienced and higher ranked Chinese Jia Jing Lu 6-0 6-1 in Dubai, where the preliminary event is being held to limit the number of players entering Australia.
Brit Francesca Jones has proven the doctors wrong to book her place at the Australian Open
Jones (above in December) was born with three fingers on each hand, and is missing three toes
‘I’m just super happy to qualify and really look forward to getting out to Australia,’ she said in an interview after the win. ‘I have never been before and I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience.’
Qualification for the tournament guarantees her a minimum £55,000 in first round prize money and she could meet the likes of Serena Williams or Serena Halep in what will be her first Grand Slam singles main draw appearance.
Jones has had to battle hard to reach a ranking that will now be on the cusp of the world’s top 200.
She has thumbs but only three fingers on each hand, and is also missing three toes due to the rare condition she was born with. Aged eight she was told by specialists that there was no point her pursuing a tennis career.
She is now in the main draw of Australian Open, where she could face likes of Serena Williams
Jones is now guaranteed at least £55,000 after booking her spot on the plane to Melbourne
Nothing has stopped her learning to give the ball an almighty thump, and she put in her best performance of the week. Going 4-0 up in the second set before dropping her solitary game, she dealt brutally with Lu’s serve in imposing herself on the match. At the end she shouted ‘Vamos!’ to her Spanish coach Andrew Guilera.
The GB contingent in the singles main draw, which has been depleted by the withdrawal of Kyle Edmund, will now be back up to seven.
Overnight Cam Norrie lost in the semi-final of the ATP event in Delray Beach Florida, losing 6-3 7-5 to Seb Korda of the US.