Paris | Boulter and Dart open with wins as teens advance in qualifying

Britain’s Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart came through 3-setters to advance into round 2 of the French Open qualifying competition on Tuesday, but Katie Swan, Heather Watson and Lily Miyazaki failed to get past the first hurdle.

I'm just trying to fight for every point and I'm glad that I won today because it means a lot to win this tight match. Today was just the first round of qualies, so there are still two more to go. For sure it would mean a lot but yeah, I'm just trying not to think about it yet. Brenda Fruhvirtova

Boulter, who is seeded 24 in qualifying, cut down on her errors to beat Italian Nuria Brancaccio, 6-2 4-6 6-4, while Dart, the 28th seed, was tested in a 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over American Katrina Scott.

Dart, ranked 109, proved far more experienced against her 18-year-old opponent, taking 50% of her 12 break-point opportunities compared to Scott’s return of 5 from 21, while the Brit also landed 40 winners to offset an unforced error count of 46 and 7 double-faults.

Swan found Denmark’s Clara Tauson, seeded 17, too much to handle on the clay courts of Roland Garros and went down, 6-4 6-2, while Watson met the same fate against 22-year old Olga Danilovic from Serbia, who won the Madrid ITF W100 title last week and has rocketed back up to No 104 in the rankings, losing 6-4 6-3, and Miyazaki fell to American Ashlyn Krueger, 6-2 6-4.

Players need to come through 3 rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw, which starts on Sunday.

21-year-old Pole Maja Chwalinska upset the No 2 seed Lucrezia Stefanini in 67 minutes in the 1st-round of qualifying at Roland Garros on Tuesday

©André Ferreira / FFT

Meanwhile, Maja Chwalinska upset Lucrezia Stefanini on Day 2 in other 1st-round qualifying action, while Taylor Townsend and Tamara Zidansek both advanced.

Chwalinska scored the biggest upset of Roland Garros qualifying so far, knocking out No 2 seed Lucrezia Stefanini from Italy, 6-2 6-1, in just 67 minutes.

The 21-year-old Pole, who overcame depression to make her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon last year, was out of action for 6 months following the US Open due to a knee injury, but her renowned touch was in full view against Stefanini as Chwalinska struck 15 winners and won 9 of her 10 points at the net.

Elsewhere, Taylor Townsend continued to surge on European red clay with a 7-6(1) 6-2 defeat of Serbia’s Natalija Stevanovic, firing 30 winners on the way.

The American returned from maternity leave just over a year ago, and has risen back up to No 108 in the rankings after a 3rd-round showing in Rome and a run to the Florence 125 final last week.

Former Roland Garros semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia also advanced, surviving a tight tussle with Uzbekistani Nigina Abduraimova, 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2, in 2 hours and 36 minutes.

The 4th seed, who made the Last 4 here in 2021, had to come from 2-0 down against the World No 176.

Brenda Fruhvirtova edged past Croatia's Antonia Ruzic and hopes to join older sister Linda in the main draw

© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

No 29 seed Brenda Fruhvirtova is 16 years old and was victorious in the tightest match of the day, with the Czech, who qualified for her first major at the Australian Open in January, having to save one match point in the deciding super match tiebreak to beat Croatia’s Antonia Ruzic, 3-6 6-2 7-6[10].

The younger sister of Linda Fruhvirtova, Brenda is the second-youngest player in the top 300, and one of only two 16-year-olds, cooly came from a set down, and broke as her opponent served for the match deep in the third.

“It was a really, really intense and tough match but I would say I’m most of the time like that (calm) in the matches so it was pretty much normal for me,” Fruhvirtova said. “I’m just trying to stay positive even if I’m down and down match (point).

“I’m just trying to fight for every point and I’m glad that I won today because it means a lot to win this tight match.

“Today was just the first round of qualies, so there are still two more to go,” she added, hoping to join her sister in the main draw. “For sure it would mean a lot but yeah, I’m just trying not to think about it yet.”

The World No 146 last year went on a tear, bagging 8 ITF titles, including 5 straight on clay in a run in which she notched 27 straight match wins.

While the tour’s age eligibility rule limits the number of tournaments she is able to contest before turning 18, Fruhvirtova is in no great rush.

“It’s very hard because last year I went really up in the rankings, and I still have a limit of tournaments because of my age, so it’s pretty much a pressure for me, but I’m just trying to enjoy as much as I can and not to think about the rankings,” she said ahead of a second-round qualifying meeting with Liechtenstein’s Kathinka von Deichmann. “What’s supposed to happen will happen, I guess. Of course, I feel the pressure but I’m trying to go with it.”

17-year old Sara Bejlek kept her bid alive of qualifying for a third straight major with a come-back win over Arianne Hartono

© Remy Chautard/FFT

Fellow Czech teenager Sara Bejlek earlier kept her bid alive of qualifying for a third straight major with a 6-7(2) 6-4 6-4 come-back against Dutchwoman Arianne Hartono.

The 17-year-old leftie, who is the third-youngest player in the top 300 behind Mirra Andreeva and Fruhvirtova, spent time training at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, USA following her Australian Open debut.

“It was perfect,” last year’s girls’ doubles champion and girls’ singles semi-finalist said. “There were a lot of other players there and I’m happy that I could practise there because she’s such a legend and it’s always good to meet them. It was good preparation for my tournaments.”

Ranked 180, Bejlek set up a 2nd-round clash with Canadian Carol Zhao, a 6-4 5-7 6-1 winner over Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa, but like her compatriot, Fruhvirtova, she was not about to let her mind wander too far ahead.

“Of course every Slam is perfect and it’s moving me a little bit closer every win,” Bejlek said. “We’ll see how I play the next match.

“I’m on the start of the career, and I have a lot of matches before me, so I’ll give my maximum every time and we will see.”

Another teenager to advance was 2022 Australian Open junior champion Petra Marcinko, after the 17-year-old Croat came through 3-6 6-0 6-2 against Canada’s Katherine Sebov to set up a 2nd-round encounter with Tauson, a former World No 33 Tauson, who is on the comeback trail from an injury-struck 2022 season.

French 2020 girls’ singles champion Elsa Jacquemot also advanced, 6-2 6-2 over Argentine Paula Ormaechea, while 19-year-old Maria Timofeeva, contesting her first ever Grand Slam match at a senior level, leapt into round 2 with a 6-2 6-1 victory over 34-year-old Marina Melnikova and next tackle the challenge of Chwalinska.

19-year-old Maria Timofeeva, contesting her first ever Grand Slam match at a senior level, leapt into the 2nd-round of qualifying with a straight sets win over 34-year-old Marina Melnikova.

© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT



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