Paris | Final 8 qualifiers make Roland Garros main draw

The final 8 qualifiers for the French Open were determined on Friday, and leading the charge into the main draw was Canada’s Rebecca Marino with a 6-2 6-0 win over Australia’s Seone Mendez.

The first time I was here in the juniors at 15, we were playing with Iga Swiatek. It’s really impressive how she has improved so much, so quickly. It’s really inspiring, just looking at her gives me this energy, I love how she plays. It gives me a lot of motivation that maybe I can do it one day. Oksana Selekhmeteva

Marino will face 18th-seeded American Coco Gauff in the first round as the 31-year old takes part in the main draw of the clay-court Grand Slam for the first time since 2011, when she made it to the 3rd round before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

She joins compatriots 17th-seed Leylah Fernandez and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescuin the women’s main draw of 128 players.

Among Friday’s other big winners was 14th-seeded Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine, who saved a match point before overcoming Japan’s Yuki Naito, 2-6 7-6(0) 6-2, in 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Tsurenko, a former Top 25 player, has struggled with injuries throughout her career and failed to qualify for any Grand Slams in 2021, but the 32-year-old is back on track into the majors, having successfully qualified at both the Australian Open and here in Paris this year.

Her run nearly ended in the final qualifying round, though, as 21-year-old Naito held a match point at 6-5 in the second set, but Tsurenko eked out a service hold, then blanked the Japanese in the subsequent tiebreak before easing through the decider to reach the main draw.

Unfortunately for Tsurenko, she will face the No 1 seed in the first round at each of this year’s first two majors after losing 6-0, 6-1 to then-World No 1 and eventual champion Ash Barty in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open and now being drawn against the new No 1 Iga Swiatek in her opener.


19-year old Oksana Selekhmeteva won the girls doubles at 2021 Roland Garros and has qualified for the main draw

© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Serbia’s Olga Danilovic also triumphed in a tough tussle on Friday to make the main draw, edging 10th seed Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria, 6-2 1-6 7-6(3), in just over 2 hours, after which the tears began to flow as she banished the memory of an injury-maligned year.

Danilovic, who won a Hologic WTA Tour singles title at the 2018 Moscow River Cup as a 17-year-old, dominated the decisive 10-point tiebreak to topple Tomova and reach the French Open main draw for the first time.

The silver lining for Tomova is that she has also made the main draw as a lucky loser.

Junior success has translated into a main draw opportunity for Oksana Selekhmeteva, who soared into her maiden Grand Slam main draw on the back of a commanding qualifying campaign, with a 6-1 6-4 over France’s Oceane Babel a year after lifting the girls’ doubles trophy at Roland-Garros.

“The first time I was here in the juniors at 15, we were playing with Iga Swiatek,” said the 19-year old, who is ranked 162. “It’s really impressive how she has improved so much, so quickly.

“It’s really inspiring, just looking at her gives me this energy, I love how she plays. It gives me a lot of motivation that maybe I can do it one day.

“It’s my first Grand Slam as a pro, I was still playing juniors last season. I’m really happy with this, my tennis, my attitude, so it’s really exciting,” continued the teenager, who also reached the semi-finals in girls’ singles last summer in Paris.

“I don’t feel any pressure, I love clay, I just love this place, the public, even if they are against me, the atmosphere is just giving me power and energy.”

Meanwhile, Valentini Grammatikopoulou from Greece also is off to her first main event in Paris, sealing victory over American Christina McHale, 6-3 6-3, and Mexican Fernanda Contreras Gomez grabbed her Grand Slam debut, emerging 6-1 3-6 6-3 from her tussle with Joanne Zuger from Switzerland.

The other main-draw qualifiers on Friday were Aleksandra Krunic, the 13th seed from Serbia, American Hailey Baptiste, and Miriam Bjorklund, while there were also 3 lucky losers, who receive main-draw spots, Tomova, Hungary’s Reka Luca Jani, and former Top 20 player Mihaela Buzarnescu from Romania.


A general view of Roland Garros, already busy before the main draws begin

© Amélie Laurin/FFT



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