Under the Radar: Taylah Preston (Australia)

TEENAGE sensation Taylah Preston has been performing strongly on the ITF Tour the last five months, and is rapidly improving her WTA Tour ranking. Though many of her tournaments have been out of the spotlight given the lower level compared to the Tour, Preston has risen almost 300 places since September.

Five months ago when entering the first of five consecutive ITF events in her home nation, the Australian was ranked 436th in the world. Fast forward to February 2024, and she is now 153rd in the world and quickly closing on a top 100 birth.

In that block of five ITF tournaments in Australia, Preston won two of them, reached two semi-finals and a quarter final, with her only losses coming against higher ranked Australians. The 18-year-old has surpassed the likes of Talia Gibson (215th) and Maddison Inglis (286th) now, to be the sixth highest ranked Australian on the WTA Tour.

Winning a W60 event in Sydney last November certainly helped the cause, and she was looking good in patches in Canberra against top 100 player Nao Hibino, before going down in three sets. While she has been able to spend time on the WTA Tour in 2024, Preston has copped some rough draws. At Adelaide, she took a set off former top five talent Caroline Garcia, before being overwhelmed at the Australian Open against former number one Elina Svitolina.

Preston bounced back from that first round loss to play in Thailand, where she had win over top 200 opponents Olivia Gadecki and Ekaterina Makarova in qualifying, only to face second seed Lin Zhu in the first round.

However the form stacks up, as Preston had a memorable run to the final at the Puerto Vallarta Open where she knocked off some quality players. Defeating former top 50 Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the opening round, the Australian also collected the scalp of Maria Carle who was on a tear this season with her form at ITF level.

Preston ran into a red-hot McCartney Kessler in the final, which saw the American come from a set down to take control in the last two during a 5-7 6-0 6-3. Though a disappointing finish for the 18-year-old, she has now moved up to 153rd in the world, and is ranked high enough to be playing lower level WTA Tour events and playing qualifiers for the higher ranked event.

After not winning a title previously, Preston saluted in four ITF Tour events last season, and almost picked up a fifth – and her first of 2024 – over the weekend. Expect the Australian to not be on the ITF Tour for much longer, with the 18-year-old eyeing off a top 100 spot at year’s end.


December, 2022: 606th
September, 2023: 436th
February, 2024: 153rd

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