WTA Tour Player Focus: Priscilla Hon (Australia)

AUSTRALIAN Priscilla Hon is a 24-year-old talent from Queensland who has consistently shown signs of taking the next step in her development, but is yet to surpass the third round of a Grand Slam. Right now the 169th ranked player in the world – who still resides in her home city of Brisbane – is competing in the 2023 Australian Open Women’s Qualifying. With a 10-27 record on the WTA Tour, and a 220-162 overall win-loss record to-date, the right-hander is hoping to make the next step in 2023.

Player name: Priscilla Hon
DOB: 10/05/1998
Height: 173cm
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Country: Australia

Hon’s career started a decade ago when she played the first events of her career on the ITF circuit as a 14-year-old. She entered the 2013 Australian Open Women’s Qualifying the following year, but would not make the main draw until 2016 where she was awarded a wildcard having won two singles and four doubles titles on the ITF circuit the year before.

The year 2017 proved to be a big one as the teenager started to show signs that she was ready to progress, reaching her first ever WTA quarter final in Seoul as a qualifier. Becoming a regular on the WTA Tour – albeit often losing in qualifying, the upward trajectory that year saw her rise from 499th in the world to as high as 214th. The next two years resulted in further development, and by 2019, Hon had reached a career-high 118th.

That year she made the Australian Fed Cup Team for the first time, and posted her first ever Grand Slam win – at Roland Garros – defeating Timea Babos. A year later, the Aussie registered her first – and only to-date – main draw victory at Melbourne Park, defeating Kateryna Kozlova, before falling to German Grand Slam winner, Angelique Kerber in the second round. Unfortunately her rise came to an ultimate halt when the global pandemic hit, and with tournaments scarce, the Australian also copped a hip injury which kept her out of WTA Tour action for almost a year.

It took her a while to get back into it, and last year, Hon picked up her first ever Top 20 win, defeating Czech Petra Kvitova at the Adelaide International 1. Another wildcard entry into the Australian Open saw her drawn against Czech 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova, but she once against exited without a win, going down 6-2 6-3. Her form on the ITF Tour remained solid, winning another three titles. After ending her year via a walkover against fellow Australian Destanee Aiava at Traralgon in November, she entered the Adelaide International 1 again as a wildcard. She went down to qualifier Claire Liu in three sets.

2023 Australian Open Qualifying focus: vs. Katrina Scott (USA)

In her opening match of the Australian Open Qualifying Women’s Singles, Hon was able to best American teenager Katrina Scott in three sets, 6-3 6-7 6-1. A power player, particularly off her backhand side, Hon can be erratic at times, but when she can get a good rhythm, she is capable of stringing multiple games together.

Across the course of the match, Hon hit a total of 14 winners off her backhand, with eight groundstroke winners, four passing shots and two volleys, really making the most of her chances. Though she recorded more winners on her forehand side (14) and they were more varied – five overhead winners, four groundstroke winners, three volleys, a passing shot and a successful lob – it is her success on her backhand that stands out.

Scott is a talented up-and-comer with plenty of time on her side, but she is massively forehand focused. All of her 16 in-play winners came off the forehand wing, with no winners off her backhand, and 23 unforced errors. In particular, she struggled with Hon’s placement onto her backhand at the baseline, always looking to get back onto her forehand.

Hon’s service was also more consistent, and while not a power server, she can produce her fair share of aces. After not serving an ace in the opening set, the Australian served three more each set over the next two sets. As she ramped up the power, her confidence went up, and she ended up hitting 11 winners for 10 unforced errors in the last set, compared to Scott’s seven and 16 respectively. She broke the American three times, with Scott’s only game in the deciding set coming off the return.


Priscilla Hon takes on Canadian Katherine Sebov today in Round 2 of the Qualifying Singles at Melbourne Park. A victory will mean she is one win off another main draw appearance at her home Grand Slam, though Sebov is fresh from an upset win over Czech Linda Noskova. After Noskova reached the Adelaide International 1 final – defeating a number of Top 10 players along the way including world number two Ons Jabeur – she ran out of gas and went down to the 191st ranked 24-year-old.

Sebov won 6-4 3-6 6-4 against the second seed in an hour and 48 minutes out on Court 17, and will move up to Court 3 for the second round match. Despite Noskova clearly below her form from Adelaide, the Czech did break in the penultimate game to give herself a chance, only for Sebov to break back and win the match.

Hon should have too much power for the Canadian when it counts, with Sebov hitting the 26 winners and 30 unforced errors, and only serving two aces. She is a consistent, but not potent server, and can be exposed off her second serve. Sebov is a little more consistent off both flanks that Scott, but relies more on her baseline work where 18 of her 24 in-court winners came from. All of her in-court 27 unforced errors game from groundstrokes as well.

If Hon can keep the pressure high and make sure she is able to control the rally, getting an early break, expect the Australian to move into the third round of qualifying. Though the Canadian clearly can cause an upset as shown by her win over Noskova, the 18-year-old Czech was visibly not able to repeat her efforts from the week before after a huge event, and Sebov took full advantage. Hon should be able to get the job done and then take on the winner of either Swiss 20th seed Simona Waltert, or fellow Australian, wildcard Astra Sharma for a spot in the main draw.

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