Americans ready for
2019 French Open
Ashley Marshall | May 17, 2019
Team USA will have at least 24 women and men in the main draw of the French Open later this month, with an additional 21 players set to compete in the qualifying tournament next week.
A strong showing the qualies could see the U.S. surpass the 30 players it had in the main draw 12 months ago, which was the most since 33 Americans contested the men’s and women’s singles competition on the red Parisian clay 16 years ago.
On the women’s side, there are 13 U.S. women who earned direct entry into the main draw on the strength of their ranking, plus Lauren Davis who won the USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.
Leading the charge are top-ranked American and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, three-time French Open winner Serena Williams and former US Open runner-up Madison Keys, who are all ranked inside the Top 15.
Danielle Collins is currently ranked No.
30 in the world and would be seeded at a major for the first time in her career if she maintains that position over the weekend, and Sofia Kenin, Venus Williams (pictured above) and Alison Riske were all ranked inside the Top 50 at the cut-off deadline for entries.
Amanda Anisimova is one spot shy of her career-high ranking of 53 and Jessica Pegula is one below her best of 71 after breaking into the Top 100 for the first time in February.
Jennifer Brady, Taylor Townsend and Madison Brengle all earned direct entry with their ranking inside the Top 100 and Shelby Rogers is using her protected ranking to play her first Grand Slam in 16 months after a knee injured sidelined her for more than a year. Currently outside the Top 500, Rogers made an emotional return to the Tour last month at her home tournament in Charleston and will now return to Paris where she had her best Slam result with a quarterfinal run in 2016.
Davis missed the main-draw cut-off, but she won the USTA Pro Circuit 100K event in Bonita Springs, Fla., to jump to the top of the Wild Card Challenge to earn a reciprocal bid with the French Tennis Federation into the French Open.
The 14 Americans are the most of any nation. Russia has 11 players who earned direct entry into the main draw, while host nation France also has 11, including the six wild cards it awarded to its own athletes.
In addition, the U.S. has 12 women set to compete in the qualifying tournament next week looking to earn one of 12 coveted spots in the main draw.
Bernarda Pera narrowly missed out on an automatic spot in the main draw, but she is currently the third alternate, should others pull out. If not, she would be among the highest seeds in qualifying, where she’ll be joined by Christina McHale, Sachia Vickery, Whitney Osuigwe, Allie Kiick, Varvara Lepchenko, Claire Liu, Danielle Lao, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Robin Anderson and Kristie Ahn.
2018 French Open juniors champion Coco Gauff will also be in qualifying after being awarded one of eight qualifying Wild Cards by the tournament. Americans Nicole Gibbs and Julia Boserup were originally on the entry list, but Gibbs announced on social media this week that she will be undergoing surgery to remove a rare form of cancer on the roof of her mouth, while Boserup took to Twitter to announce her retirement following a number of injuries.
That is tied for the most American women in qualies in the past two decades, joining 2016 (when two advanced into the main draw) and 2004 (when four progressed). The U.S. has seen at least one woman come through qualifying at Roland Garros in each of the past 11 years. In total, 19 American women were in the 128-player main-draw field last year, the most since it had 20 representatives in 2003.
On the men’s side, nine U.S. men earned direct entry into the main draw, plus Tommy Paul who won the USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.
Leading the American charge is the veteran of the group, 34-year-old John Isner, who is currently ranked No. 11 in the world. He’ll be joined by Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson, who are all inside the Top 60 of the ATP Rankings.
An American man hasn't made the quarterfinals in Paris since Andre Agassi achieved the feat in 2003, but Isner has reached the Round of 16 in three of the past five seasons.
Sam Querrey, Mackenzie McDonald, Denis Kudla and Bradley Klahn round out the direct acceptances, with Tennys Sandgren narrowly missing the cut.
He was No. 81 in the world the week before the entry deadline, but after losing in the first round of the ATP 250 event in Houston —an event at which he reached the final 12 months ago—he dropped enough points to fall 30 places in the standings to No. 111.
Sandgren and Ryan Harrison, ranked 109 at the time of the deadline, both have a long shot at making the main draw automatically if enough people withdraw. But so far, only world No. 7 Kevin Anderson has pulled out, leaving Harrison and Sandgren Nos. 7 and 9 respectively on the alternates list.
That means Sandgren and Harrison will be two of nine American men in the qualifying tournament. Also entered are Bjorn Fratangelo, Noah Rubin, Chris Eubanks, Marcos Giron, Mitchell Krueger, Michael Mmoh and Tim Smyczek.
It means that at least nine U.S. men have been ranked high enough to play in the qualifying tournament for seven of the past eight years. In each of the past two years, there have been 11 American men in qualies, the most in a decade.
The U.S. has seen at least 10 men compete in the main draw for each of the previous three French Opens, a trend that will continue should any one of the nine advance through qualifying. The highest number of American men in the main draw in the past two decades was 13 in 2003 when Agassi went on to reach his third-straight quarterfinal.