Aussie rookie on cusp of top 100
Five months after losing the Australian Open wildcard play-off, Astra Sharma has rocketed to the cusp of the top 100 - and to within touching distance of Wimbledon main draw inclusion.
The gifted Perth baseliner jumped to world No. 102 - a rise of 36 places - after reaching the Copa Colsanitas final in Bogota.
Supremely athletic, Sharma has impressed plenty of wise judges after her emergence from US collegiate company to international competition.
With the May 26-June 9 French Open looming, Sharma main draw hopes hang in the balance because of the six-week deadline for direct entry cut-off.
The last player to reach the main draw in Paris last year ahead of qualifying was ranked 103 in the world.
Sharma, 23, started the year ranked No. 225.
A former star at Vanderbilt University, where she studied medicine and health, Sharma was only two games away from beating the American sixth seed Amanda Anisimova before falling 4-6 6-4 6-1.
Sharma's progress on the tennis circuit was initially stalled because of her studies.
But those restrictions are now longer a factor.
Sharma won the doubles title playing with 22-year-old Victorian Zoe Hives.
The new pairing beat American combination Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara 6-1 6-2. It was Hives first victory on the WTA tour.