PARIS, May 24, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Women’s No. 1 seed Bernarda Pera of the United States rallied during the final set of her third-round French Open qualifying match Friday afternoon on Court 7 at Roland Garros. She proved it’s not always how you arrive at a crucial moment during a match but how you finish it.
The same came be said about men’s top seed Tennys Sandgren of the United States. It took the 87th-ranked American four match points before he hit a service winner to fight off the challenge of No. 237 Mathias Bourgue of France, 7-6 (1), 7-5, which took one hour and 46 minutes to complete — and against a crowd that was largely cheering for his opponent. Now, Sandgren has reached the main draw at Roland Garros for the third consecutive year.
At 4-all in the third set of Pera’s match, the 83rd-ranked American was broken by her opponent, No. 21 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, who would be serving for the match and a chance at making the French Open women’s main draw. Instead, the 132nd-ranked, 18-year-old Juvan wasn’t able to close it. Pera broke back and held for a 6-5 lead. Then, after Juvan held, the set and match came down to a tie-break, and Pera dominated it. She broke Juvan’s serve three times en route to a 7-1 tie-break win – and a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (1) victory that lifted her into the 128-player main draw as one of 12 women’s qualifiers.
Also advancing into the women’s main draw were: No. 9 Anna Blinkova of Russia, No. 19 seed Varvara Lepchenko of the United States, ranked No. 130; No. 22 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, ranked No. 135; No. 140 Aliona Bolsova of Spain, No. 210 Jasmine Paolini of Italy, No. 169 Sofia Zhuk of Russia, No. 149 Antonia Lottner of Germany, No. 189 Kristina Kucova of Slovakia, No. 167 Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy, No. 236 Kurumi Nara of Japan, and No. 161 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia.
On the men’s side, joining Sandgren were: 303rd-ranked Alexandre Muller of France, who beat No. 256 Viktor Troicki of Serbia, 6-3, 6-4. Troicki is two years removed from equaling his best singles performance at Roland Garros, when he reached the fourth round. Also, No. 32 seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden, ranked No. 149, upset No. 4 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, ranked No. 104, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, on the strength of six service breaks and by hitting 18 winners to reach the main draw in his French Open debut; and No. 7 seed Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, ranked No. 113, defeated No. 232 Lucas Miedler of Austria, 6-2, 6-4.
Ymer, 20, a first-time qualifier, told RolandGarros.com, “I feel very emotional right now. It’s what we all work since we were kids, a big milestone in my career.”
Others qualifying for the main draw included: No. 26 seed Pedro Martinez of Spain, ranked 134th, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 424 Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France; No. 191 Simone Bolleli of Italy beat No. 201 Go Soeda of Japan, 6-1, 7-6 (5); No. 273 Elliott Benchetrit of France, defeated compatriot Enzo Couacaud, ranked No. 230, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2; and Blaz Rola of Slovenia, ranked No. 188, bested No. 203 Daniel Elahi Galan of Columbia, 6-3, 6-2.
Molleker enthusiastic about making main draw
Rudolf Molleker, the 18-year-old German prodigy, could barely contain his enthusiasm after he qualified for the French Open. He scored a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback win over No. 213 Santiago Giraldo of Columbia, a former World No. 28, on Thursday afternoon at Roland Garros to reach the 128-player main men’s draw.
Molleker, ranked No. 177, credits qualifying for the Australian Open earlier this year with preparing him the grind he’s been through this week – playing and winning three matches in a four-day period – to make the main draw of the French Open.
“I definitely think it helps that I’ve played another Grand Slam so recently. It meant I was mentally able to stay calm,” said Molleker, as quoted by RolandGarros.com.
During his two hour and 10 minute match against Giraldo, Molleker served seven aces to offset eight double faults, and hit 35 winners and 40 unforced errors.
“I don’t care who I face, I’m just happy to be there in the draw,” said Molleker. “When I’ve played good tennis on clay I’ve managed to get big wins. I beat David Ferrer (Hamburg 2018) and I’ve got some good wins behind me already. So, I know if I can play my best I think I’m dangerous.
“Obviously it’s difficult to beat anyone at this level, but I’ll give it my all in the main draw.”
Molleker will play 90th-ranked Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the first round. He was placed in No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem’s quarter of the upper half of the draw and could play against Thiem in the second round.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer)
Men’s third round singles
No. 1 T. Sandgren, U.S. d. M. Bourque, France, 7-6 (1), 7-5.
E. Benchetrit d. E. Couacaud, France, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2
No. 32 M. Ymer, Sweden, d. No. 4 H. Laaksonen, Switzerland, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
S. Bolelli, Italy, d. G. Soeda, Japan, 6-1, 7-6 (5)
No. 7 T. Monteiro, Brazil, d. L. Miedler, Austria, 6-2, 6-4
No. 26 P. Martinez, Spain, d. G. Blancaneaux, France, 6-3, 6-1
B. Rola, Slovenia, d. D.E. Galan, Columbia, 6-3, 6-2
A Muller, France, d. V. Troicki, Serbia, 6-3, 6-4
Women’s third round singles
No. 1 B. Pera, U.S., d. No. 21 K. Juvan, Serbia, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (1)
K. Kucova, Slovakia, d. K. Swan, Great Britain, 6-4, 7-5
K. Nara, Japan, d. C Perrin, Switzerland, 7-6 (2), 7-5
A. Bolsova , Spain, d. T. Babos, Hungary, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
No. 19 V. Lepchenko, U.S., d. V. Grammatikopoulou, Greece, 6-2, 6-2
G. Gattini-Monticone d. K. Zavatska, Ukraine, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
A. Lottner, Germany, d. G. Garcia-Perez, Spain, 6-3, 6-4
S. Zhuk, Russia, d. G. Minnen, Belgium, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
No. 9 A. Blinkova d. J. Glushko, Israel, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4
L. Samsonova, Russia, d. No. 10 M. Bouzkova, Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3
J. Paolini, Italy, d. A. Kiick, U.S., 6-1, 6-4
No. 22 E. Rybakina d. No. 12 N. Hibino, Japan, 7-5, 7-5
Further read: Media Day at Roland Garros