Four Kiwis today won their way to the main draw of the women's singles at the NZ Badminton Open being played at the North Shore Events Centre.
Vicki Copeland (North Harbour), Selena Wu (North Habour), Christine Zhang (Waitakere) and Kelly Stern (Waikato) were successful and Sally Fu (Auckland) received a bye through to the main draw.
Stern was involved in the match of the day session, getting past 14 year old Tamara Otene in three close games to achieve her goal of the main draw.
"That was definitely the goal, I have been working hard, this is my 'now or never' time, I am getting old so I need those ranking points and getting through to the main draw. This means the world to me, without the support of my family it is almost impossible, it is a tough sport funding wise so without family support it is just so tough."
And that family support was amazing, with four generations of the Stern family courtside to watch Kelly progress, with mum and dad Joanne and Graham, grandmother Valerie and one year old daughter Kaia all cheering her on, albeit little Kaia did get a little too vocal late in the match!
"I heard her make a little noise at 19 all in the third, it was going to go one of two ways - put me off or charge me on to better things, but it did the right thing."
Stern is determined to make the most of her opportunities now she is in the main draw and see if she can shake the tournament up a little.
"I am only just back into the sport really, I rushed back into things last year and injured myself, the hardest thing was learning to be patient and like I said, this is now or never, this is my last chance to establish myself and mean business, the goal is to get ranked top in New Zealand, once I am there, I will go from there and see what I can achieve."
Copeland meanwhile was pleased to progress to the main draw after a comfortable win over fellow Kiwi Catelyn Rozario, setting up a tough first round match with Thi Trang Vu (Vietnam), someone she was able to scout at the Maurice Pools and Spas Waikato International last weekend, with the Vietnamese player an impressive winner of the women's singles.