Kiwi teenager Jade Lewis has been awarded a main draw wildcard into the ASB Classic.
The 19-year-old Lewis is an emerging talent — she's ranked 1050 in the world after battling away on the ITF Futures circuit in the second half of last season — but has always performed well on the Stanley Street courts.
Lewis turned heads at the ASB Classic last year, when she pushed Venus Williams to the limit before losing 7-6 6-2 in a memorable match that was spread across two days.
The year before she took Lauren Davis, who is defending champion coming into next week's event, to three sets in the final round of qualifying.
Lewis is the niece of 1983 Wimbledon finalist Chris, while her father David and Uncle Mark were also ATP tour professionals.
Lewis has spent the past year at Louisiana State University, where she made the All American singles team and was ranked 17th nationwide at the end of the college season.
She then played 10 tournaments across Europe and the United States between June and October, earning three main draw wins.
Three other New Zealanders — Paige Hourigan, Erin Routliffe and Jo Carswell — have been granted wildcards into qualifying.
Carswell will play Arantxa Rus (Netherlands) in the first match on centre court on Saturday, while Hourigan faces another Dutch player Bibiane Schoofs. Canadian-born Routliffe has been drawn against America's Jamie Loeb.
Former Kiwi Sacha Jones, who now represents Australia, will face Britain's Katie Boulter in the first round of qualifying.