KUDLA INTO FINAL ROUND
OF 2018 FRENCH OPEN QUALIES
Ashley Marshall | May 23, 2018
Denis Kudla is one win away from appearing in the main draw of the French Open for the third time in his career.
The 25-year-old American needed just 54 minutes to see off Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France, 6-2, 6-1, on Wednesday to advance to the final round of qualifying. The No. 7 seed will face No. 24 seed Jurgen Zopp of Estonia for a spot in the 128-player field of the second Grand Slam of the year that begins Sunday.
Kudla (pictured above) has competed in the main draw in Paris twice before, in 2013 and 2016, but he has fallen in qualies in three of his past four trips to the French capital.
Roland Garros is the only one of the major tournaments at which Kudla has never won a main-draw singles match, following a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2015, the second round of the US Open in 2013 and trips to the Round of 64 at the Australian Open in 2016 and again this past January.
The Ukranian-born American was ranked as high as No. ADVERTISEMENT 53 in the world as recently as May 2016, and he is steadily climbing back toward the Top 100. Currently ranked No. 114, Kudla could jump back inside the Top 100, which already features nine U.S. men, with a couple more wins in Paris.
Elsewhere on Day 3 of the French Open Qualifying Tournament, Americans Claire Liu, Jamie Loeb and Francesca Di Lorenzo each won their first-round qualifying matches.
Seventeen-year-old Liu dropped just three games in upsetting No. 9 seed Danka Kovinic, 6-2, 6-1. Liu, who won the girls’ title at Wimbledon last summer on her way to becoming the top-ranked junior in the world, made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at the US Open last August. She will play Georgina Garcia Perez of Spain in the second round of qualifying.
Over on Court 9, Di Lorenzo rallied to beat Quirine Lemoine of the Netherlands, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, to set up a second-round match with No. 2 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden. Di Lorenzo is looking to make her Grand Slam main-draw debut, after losing in the first round of the US Open Qualifying tournament to fellow Americans Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn.
Completing the quartet of American winners on Day 3, Loeb, who was leading by a set when rain stopped play Tuesday, wrapped up her first-round win against Conny Perrin of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-2.
Loeb, ranked No. 162 in the world, broke twice in the first set yesterday then three more times today to book her place in the second round. The 23-year-old New Yorker, the NCAA Division I women’s singles champion in 2015, will next face Italian veteran and 2010 French Open women's champion Francesca Schiavone.
In other first-round qualifying matches, Ahn fell to Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, in almost two-and-a-half hours on Court 6, and Danielle Lao lost to No. 18 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, 6-2, 6-1.
On Thursday, the eight Americans remaining in the qualies draw will all be in action, looking to add to the 28 U.S. men and women already assured in the main draw, the most of any nation.