A feature of this year’s Wimbledon Qualifying tournament is the involvement of three players who have reached the finals of the women’s singles.
The player with the highest profile is the 24-year-old Eugenie Bouchard who having been denied a Wimbledon wild card, started her bid to qualify with a 51-minute routing of China’s Zhu Lin.
It's not hard at all. I'm happy to be here Eugenie Bouchard
Bouchard who became the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam singles final when she made the Wimbledon championships round in 2014 before losing to Petra Kvitova, has struggled since those halcyon days.
Hampered by injuries and poor form, Bouchard has only reached the quarterfinals of a major once since then and plummeted down the rankings to 191.
Bouchard failed to make it beyond the opening round in two of her last three Wimbledon appearances and missed her first Grand Slam since 2013 when she failed to qualify for the French Open last month.
She needs to win two more matches to be included in this year’s main draw. Her next opponent is Slovakia’s Karolina Muchova.
“I’m pretty happy. It’s important on grass to start well. It was pretty solid,” Bouchard said, adding when asked if she was disappointed at having to qualify: “It’s not hard at all. I’m happy to be here.”
Another former Wimbledon finalist, Vera Zvonareva, also made it through the first round of qualifying, as the 33-year-old beat Japan’s Eri Hozumi 6-2 6-3.
Zvonareva, beaten by Serena Williams in the 2010 final, took over two years off to get married and become a mother before returning in late 2017. The Russian former world number two, who was a US Open finalist in 2010, plays Uzbekistan’s Sabine Sharipova in her next qualifying match.
Sabine Lisicki completes the trio of former Wimbledon runners-up in qualifying action. The German was in tears during the 2013 final after being beaten by Marion Bartoli.
Playing her first match for three months after a serious knee injury, the 28-year-old Lisicki, whose ranking is down to 159, slumped to a 6-4 7-6(3) defeat against Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya.