No. 1 Seed Pera Still In Hunt For French Open Women’s Main Draw Spot

Roland Garros 2019 (photo: Corinne Dubreuil / FFT)

PARIS, May 23, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)

No. 1 seed Bernarda Pera of the United States moved into the final round of French Open qualifying with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Zhang Kai-Lin of China Thursday morning on Court 6, completed in one hour and 26 minutes. However, a couple of Pera’s more highly-publicized American compatriots both went down during the second round at Roland Garros.

Cori “Coco” Gauff, 15, who two days earlier became the youngest female to win a round in a Grand Slam (in either qualifying or main draw) since Martina Hingis at the 1995 Australian Open, was defeated by No. 21 seed Kaja Juvan of Serbia, 6-3, 6-3. The 18-year-old Juvan, who is ranked 132nd, took advantage of four service breaks, won 76 percent (30 of 39) of her first-serve points, and hit 26 winners against the young American, ranked No. 320, who committed 33 unforced errors. Gauff is the reigning French Open junior girls’ champion.

Also, No. 11 seed Whitney Osuigwe, ranked No. 122, lost to another American, No. 151 Allie Kiick, 0-6, 6-3, 6-1, in one hour and 20 minutes. Kiick converted all five of her break-point chances and hit 21 winners. She outpointed the 2017 French Open junior girls’ champion, 69-66.

The Croatian-born American Pera came to Paris fresh off winning an ITF clay event in Trnava, Slovakia, last week and now has won six consecutive matches on clay. Unfortunately, the points Pera earned last week from her title victory came too late for her to avoid having to play in the qualifying draw at Roland Garros.

“I kind of have to block it out. I knew I would have to play qualies anyway so I was just prepared to play three rounds,” said Pera, interviewed after her second-round win by the Roland Garros website. “I mean I love clay, it’s my favorite surface and I think I’m playing well at the moment. I’m just trying to keep it that way.”

Other seeds who advanced to the third (and last) round of qualifying include: No. 9 Anna Blinkova of Russia, No. 10 Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, No. 12 Nao Hibino of Japan, No. 19 Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S., and No. 22 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

One of the biggest upsets of the day came when No. 5 seed Heather Watson of Great Britain lost to No. 193 Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece, 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), which took two hours and 44 minutes to complete on Court 14. The 105th-ranked Watson had two match points on her racquet, serving at 5-3 in the final set, but was unable to convert either of them.

“This match is really important for me,” Grammatikopoulou told “It’s my first time winning (Grand Slam qualifying) second round and first time from two match points down.

“It’s the first time I didn’t give up when I had chances and first time when I was 3-0 down (in the third set), I still kept my cool.”

Later, No. 3 Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, twice a Roland Garros main draw semifinalist (2015, 2017), lost to No. 236 Kurumi Nara of Japan, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in two hours and seven minutes on Court 14.

On the men’s side, eight of 16 spots in the main draw were decided Thursday. Leading the way was No. 12 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez from Spain, who beat No. 23 seed Oscar Otte of Germany, ranked, No. 145, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. The 36-year-old Lopez, ranked 123rd, is playing in his 15th French Open and is five years removed from his best finish, reaching the fourth round in 2014. Also, No. 31 seed Salvatore Caruso of Italy, ranked 148th, came from down a set to beat No. 175 Dustin Brown of Germany, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Meanwhile, three German men moved into the main draw. No. 8 seed Yannick Maden, ranked No. 115, beat No. 17 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain, ranked No. 133, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; No. 177 Rudolf Molleker advanced over No. 213 Santiago Giraldo of Columbia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 184 Yannick Hanfmann upset No. 19 seed Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, ranked No. 138, 6-2, 6-2.

Another seed who fell the final round of qualifying was No. 6 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine. He lost to No. 216 Alexey Vatutin of Russia, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Looking ahead to Friday

The final eight men’s main draw places will be determined as well as all 12 of the women’s spots in the final day of qualifying for the 2019 French Open.

Thursday’s results

Men’s third round singles
K. Coppejans, Belgium, d. M. Guinard, France, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
No. 31 S. Caruso, Italy, d. D. Brown, Germany, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
A. Vatutin, Russia, d. No. 6 S. Stakhovsky, Ukraine, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
No. 8 Y. Maden, Germany, d. No. 17 A. Davidovich Fokina, Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Y. Hanfmann, Germany, d. No. 19 L. Rosol, Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-2
No. 12 G. Garcia-Lopez d. No. 23 O. Otte, Germany, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
R. Molleker, Germany, d. S. Giraldo, Columbia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 13 S. Travaglia, Italy, d. S. Darcis, Belgium, 7-6 (3), 6-3

Women’s second round singles
A. Lottner, Germany, d. E. Jacquemot, France, 7-6 (1), 6-2
V. Grammatikopoulou, Greece, d. No. 5 H. Watson, Great Britain, 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3)
K. Nara, Japan, d. No. 3 T. Bacsinszky, Switzerland, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
No. 21 K. Juvan, Serbia, d. C. Gauff, U.S., 6-3, 6-3
A. Kiick, U.S., d. No. 11 W. Osuigwe, U.S., 0-6, 6-3, 6-1
G. Gattini-Monticone, Italy, d. F. Di Lorenzo, U.S., 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3
No. 1 B. Pera, U.S., d. K.L. Zhang, China, 6-4, 6-4
A. Bolsova, Spain, d. S. Xu, China, 6-1, 6-2
K. Swan, Great Britain, d. X. Wang, China, 6-4, 0-6, 7-5
S. Zhuk, Russia, d. K. Von Deichmann, Liechtenstein, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 22 E. Rybakina, Kazakhstan, d. R Marino, Canada, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4
No. 9 A. Blinkova, Russia, d. A. Kalinina, Ukraine, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
No. 10 M. Bouzkova, Czech Republic, d. A. Shimizu, Japan, 6-2, 6-3
No. 19 V. Lepchenko, U.S., d. R. Oprandi, Switzerland, 6-1, 6-1
K. Kucova, Slovakia, d. T. Korpatsch, Germany, 6-4, 6-3
G. Garcia Perez, Spain, d. No. 13 O. Danilovic, Serbia, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
J. Paolini, Italy, d. R. Sramkova, Slovakia, 7-5, 6-0
K. Zavatska, Ukraine, d. E. Gorgodze, Georgia, 6-0, 6-4
G. Minnen, Belgium, d. No. 8 N. Vikhlyantseva, Russia, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
T. Babos, Hungary, d. M. Trevisan, Italy, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
J. Glushko, Israel, d. R. Anderson, U.S., 6-3, 6-3
L. Samsonova, Russia, d. No. 23 S. Vickery, U.S., 7-5, 6-2
No. 12 N. Hibino, Japan, d. R. Hogenkamp, Netherlands, 6-1, 6-2
C. Perrin, Switzerland, d. No. 15 A. Bogdan, Romania, 7-5, 7-5