Paris | Fruhvirtova and Noskova lead the charge in Roland Garros qualifying

The French Open at Roland Garros, which begins on Sunday, beckons and 128 hopefuls are embarking on their journeys in the qualifying event, hoping to win 3 matches to gain entry into the main draw headlined by the World No 1 Iga Swiatek.

I played juniors here last year, so I saw some of her [Barbora Krejcikova] matches on the TV and yeah, it was pretty amazing seeing what she did. I've always been very motivated and I love competing, so it doesn't really change with [Krejcikova’s triumph] but it's definitely great to see. Linda Fruhvirtova

Tournament Director Amélie Mauresmo believes there is a new era starting in women’s tennis after Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, has taken over the top spot following Ash Barty’s retirement in March, and having won 5 WTA tournaments in a row to make her the most dominant player in the pack.

Currently on a 28-match winning streak, the 20-year-old Pole is the clear favourite to win a second trophy at Roland Garros this year, and Mauresmo feels that Swiatek, along with Naomi Osaka and Ons Jabeur, is steering women’s tennis into a new phase.

“What Iga has been showing us for the last few months, it’s clear that she’s the boss,” Mauresmo told Eurosport. “I think we are seeing the rise of this new generation.

“Swiatek, Naomi Osaka if she manages to find her consistency at the highest level, Ons Jabeur who also has a completely different game.

“I hope that the spectators of Roland-Garros will be able to appreciate it. Women’s tennis has been criticised for several years for its stereotypical style of play.

“I think that a new era is starting.”


Last year's Roland-Garros junior champion Linda Noskova passed her first qualifying test with a victory over 11th seed Anna Blinkova.

© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Two 17-year-old Czechs, Linda Fruhvirtova and Linda Noskova, are hoping to follow in Swiatek’s wake and won their first Grand Slam qualifying matches in Paris on Monday, while Laura Siegemund from Germany, Italy’s Sara Errani and Anastasia Potapova also moved a step closer towards making the main draw.

Just 2 of the 128 players vying for 16 open spots in the main draw of the second Grand Slam of the year, Fruhvirtova toppled No 25 seed Katarzyna Kawa, 6-0 6-4, taking an hour and 11 minutes to ease past the Pole, winning 75 percent of Kawa’s second-serve points.

Fruhvirtova had a breakthrough showing at WTA 1000 Miami earlier this year, where she upset Victoria Azarenka and Elise Mertens to become the youngest player to reach the Round of 16 at that event since 2004.

“It was definitely a massive boost to see that I have the level and compete with these players and win the matches,” Fruhvirtova said. “Many people are telling me I have the level and I can do it, you know; but you really believe it when you get to play these matches and win these matches.

“So I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play such a huge tournament and do so well. It’s just the beginning. It’s a great start and I can build on it.”

Fruhvirtova will next play Viktoria Kuzmova, a former Top 50 player from Slovakia, who beat American Jamie Loeb, 7-6(5) 6-4.

Noskova, who won the Junior Roland Garros singles title last year, upset 11th-seeded Anna Blinkova, 6-3 7-5, to join her compatriot in round two.

Blinkova reached the WTA 125 Saint-Malo final two weeks ago, but Noskova prevailed in their contest by converting 5 of her 11 break points in her first Grand Slam qualifying match.

“It means a lot,” Noskova said. “I was really excited to come back here, especially for the adults.

“It brings memories and that is one of my favourite, so it’s really good.”

The two teenage prospects could not help but follow the improbable journey of their unseeded countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova, who left all in her wake to collect a maiden major at Roland Garros last year.

“I played juniors here last year, so I saw some of her matches on the TV and yeah, it was pretty amazing seeing what she did,” Fruhvirtova said.

“I’ve always been very motivated and I love competing, so it doesn’t really change with [Krejcikova’s triumph] but it’s definitely great to see.”

Noskova was the first Czech to win the junior girls’ title since Hana Mandlikova in 1978, while Krejcikova was the first Czech since Mandlikova 3 years later to win the women’s singles.

“When I had free time I was watching her run and it was very inspiring,” Noskova said of Krejcikova. “There’s a lot of Czech players here [in qualifying] this year. I know a lot of them.

“I’m really glad that we have such a chance to play here and hopefully get some good results.”


Iga Swiatek won in Paris in 2020 and leads the field after winning 5 WTA tournaments in a row as the current World No 1

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Also on Day 1, clay-court expert Siegemund eased into the 2nd round with a 6-3 6-0 victory over Anastasia Zakharova, the former World No 27 converting 5 of 11 break points in her 1-hour 16-minute opener.

Siegemund, who is coming back from injury, was a Roland Garros quarter-finalist in 2020 and has won 2 Hologic WTA Tour singles titles on clay, including on home soil at WTA 500 Stuttgart in 2017.

The German will next meet No 4 seed Wang Xiyu from China, who defeated Korea’s Han Na-lae, 7-5 6-0.

Errani, the 2012 Roland Garros finalist, easily passed another Korean, Jang Su-jeong, 6-1 6-2.

The Italian, who was runner-up to Maria Sharapova in Paris 10 years ago, reached the quarter-finals or better for 4 straight years, from 2012 through to 2015, and she now takes on 14th-seed Lesia Tsurenko after the Ukrainian, a former top 25 player herself, cruised past Emiliana Arango from Colombia, 6-0 6-1, in just 55 minutes.

In other Day 1 results, No 1 seed Anastasia Potapova, who won her first career WTA Tour singles title last month on the clay in Istanbul, clinched her first-round qualifying win over Mexico’s Renata Zarazua, 6-2 6-3, while 2nd seed Jule Niemeier from Germany dismissed Romanian Alexandra Cadantu-Ignatik, 6-1 6-1, 3rd-seeded Zhu Lin from China beat Australia’s Storm Sanders, 6-4 6-4, and Croatia’s Donna Vekic, a former Top 20 player seeded 4 this week, ousted Robin Anderson from the USA, 6-4 6-4.

Vekic, a former World No 19, continues to climb back towards the top 100 following right knee surgery last year,

British hopes are pinned on Katie Swan and Yuriko Miyazaki navigating their way through qualifying.

Mizaki, who earlier this year was formally granted her request to play for Great Britain, has enjoyed a successful year on the ITF Tour, reaching the semi-final of the W60 Pretoria and the quarter-final of the W25 Monastir.

She also qualified for her only WTA event in Lyon back at the end of May, while the 26-year-old also claimed the W60 Grenoble doubles title with Prarthana Thombare and progressed to the W60 Koper semi-finals with Jodie Burrage.

On Monday Mizaki, ranked 227, opened her campaign with a 6-3 6-3 upset of 26th seed Ylena In-Albon from Switzerland, and will take on Ysaline Bonaventure from Belgium, who edged past Despina Papamichail from Greece, 6-1 3-6 7-6(4).

Swan, ranked 212, takes to the court for her opener on Tuesday against Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria, who is the World No 113.

The 23-year-old British No 4 claimed her 10th ITF title at the W25 Santa Domingo in February after defeating USA’s Sachia Vickery in the final.

Already accepted into the main draw in Paris are World No 12 Emma Raducanu, 107th ranked Heather Watson, and Harriet Dart, who is ranked 113.


Amélie Mauresmo, Tournament Director in Paris, believes Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka and Ons Jabeur are leading women's tennis into a new and exciting phase

© Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

Eurosport is the exclusive home of the French Open in the UK this year, and fans can watch every day of the 2022 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk, the Eurosport app and on-demand via discovery+.

The Eurosport app for IOS or Android and eurosport.co.uk offer all the action ad-free, while you can sign up for discovery+ for just £6.99 per month or £59.99 annually to watch on your smart TV.

The men’s and women’s qualifying runs from 16 May to 20 May and live coverage can be watched from 9am BST every day on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk, the Eurosport app and on-demand via on discovery+.

The main draw starts on Sunday, 22 May, with night sessions, which first were introduced last year, scheduled every day from 23 May to 3 June.

The draw will be made on Thursday 19 May at 7pm (6pm BST) and will consist of 104 direct entries, 16 qualifiers and 8 wild cards, with 32 players seeded.

Previous draws have been shown live on the Roland Garros and FFT Facebook pages as well as the official French Open YouTube channel.



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