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Facing armed protests, experts urge law enforcement to crack down on unauthorized militias Republicans decry new metal detectors, citing 2nd Amendment rights Britains Jones qualifies for Australian Open and proves doctors wrong

Britain's Francesca Jones said she hopes to "change people's perspectives" as she qualified for the Australian Open on Wednesday, her first major tournament, with a crushing win over Lu Jiajing in the final round of qualifying in Abu Dhabi.

© LEON NEAL Britain's Francesca Jones plays a doubles match against Americans Amanda Anisimova and Alexandra Sanford during Wimbledon 2016

Jones, a 20-year-old from the north of England who has a rare congenital condition that means she has only three fingers on each hand and seven toes, steamed past Lu 6-0 6-1.

When she was a child, she was told she would never be able to become a professional athlete.

Jones, the British number five, was ranked 241 in the women's singles rankings before their clash, with the more experienced Lu 40 places ahead of her.

"I have big goals that I want to achieve and I do want to change people's perspectives not just on tennis but on sport and how they approach sport," she said in an interview.

"My syndrome (Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia) is very rare... and it's a complicated one because there are many different symptoms.

"My symptoms are I have three toes on my right foot, four on my left, four fingers on both of my hands."

Jones, 20, who also saw off former top 30 player Monica Niculescu of Romania and Croatia's Jana Fett in the earlier qualifying rounds.

She now has nearly three weeks before the start of the Australian Open, the first time she has reached the main draw of a Grand Slam, which begins in Melbourne February 8.

"You get the staring, you get the questions, you get the sympathy sometimes -- and then you get the opposite, you get the hatred," Jones said.

"I've never been one to focus too much on what other people think of me or specifically of that, because I don't think this defines me."

Also booking their spots on a specially chartered plan to Melbourne -- and quarantine -- was Tsvetana Pironkova.

The 33-year-old Pironkova is playing in just the third event since returning from a three-year absence, during which she gave birth to her son Alexander.

The three tournaments she has played have been majors with the Bulgarian reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open last year and third round at Roland Garros.

On Wednesday, Pironkova defeated Magarita Gasparyan 6-3, 7-5.

Canada's Rebecca Marino, 30, will play in the main draw at a Slam for the first time since the 2013 Australian Open.

Marino defeated Maryna Zanevska 6-4, 7-6 (11/9).

In men's qualifying, being held in Doha, Spanish 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz became the first man born in 2003 to reach the main draw of a Slam.

Alcaraz stormed past second seed Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-3.

The controversial Bernard Tomic, a former top 20 player, made his home Slam by seeing off fellow Australian John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 5-7 7-6 (10-7).


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Im Clutch: Nick Kyrgios Issues Stern Warning to Rivals Ahead of Australian Open 2021

While he has had a good many well-documented meltdowns in court, does Nick Kyrgios let the pressure of a match situation affect his tennis? Does his game, in other words, slip into an abyss when put under pressure?

Well, apparently not, and there are stats to prove it.

Kyrgios has 62.5% win percentage in deciding sets

The maverick Australian tennis star has punched out some interesting pieces of statistics for his Instagram followers to show that more than yielding to pressure, he takes the level of his tennis up a notch or two when put under the cosh.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Fourth Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – Australia’s Nick Kyrgios reacts during his match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

The tall Canberra lad has come out on the winning side of many close and edge-of-the-seat finishes in his career and the numbers that he has shared only stands to affirm how he invariably fought back every time his back was against the wall.

They say stats don’t lie and the fact Kyrgios holds an impressive 62.5% win percentage in deciders shows that he seems to move to a fifth gear every time a match goes to a fifth set.

Nick Kyrgios has saved 65.3% of break points

Adding more shine to his finishing credentials in close games, the burly Australian has saved 65.3% of break points against him. It goes to show that even the most persistent ones have struggled to break his game and that most times his serve was put under pressure, he came out with flying colors.

Kyrgios, as the stats show, has won a whopping 58.1% of tie-breakers and has converted 48.2% of his break points, thereby showing that he is quite another level when it comes to battling crunch situations and winning tight games.

Kyrgios has an overall under pressure rating of 234.1

And now to the most startling piece of statistics of all. Kyrgios has an overall under pressure rating of 234.1, making him the ‘CLUTCH’ in men’s tennis.

For those struggling to see how the allusion fits, the basic function of a clutch in a vehicle is to transfer the rotational power from the engine to the wheels. And in Kyrgios’ case, the pressure is the clutch as it shifts his inner strength (engine) to his legs (wheels).

As far as self-assessment goes, one would struggle to find a better word for that spring in his step every time an opponent thinks he could be rolled over.

Read More: Nick Kyrgios To Miss ATP Cup 2021, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to Lead the Draw

That trademark fighting spirit will be on show again as the 25-year-old returns from the doldrums and leads his country’s charge at the and the Australian Open.

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